How Is It Treated
If your lung cancer spreads to your brain, there are several treatment options. These include:
Medications. Some cancer drugs come in pills that you can take by mouth, while others are given intravenously in a vein. The type of medications your doctor recommends will depend on the locations of your brain lesions and your individual situation.
Chemotherapy. This kills cells that grow quickly, including cancer cells. If you have LMD, your doctor might inject chemo into your arm or directly into your spinal fluid. They can also give it through a device thatâs inserted under your scalp called an Ommaya reservoir.
Targeted therapy. If you have brain mets caused by lung cancer that have certain genetic biomarkers like ALK and EGFR, then you might get this therapy. Targeted pills focus on flaws within cancer cells and block them. This causes cancer cells to die.
But you might have to wait a few weeks before your doctor can confirm whether your cancer has biomarkers. If you need to start treatment as soon as possible, you might have to rule out this option.
Focused radiation to the brain. Also called stereotactic radiosurgery, this therapy uses radiation beams in a specific way to kill cancer cells in the brain. For the procedure, your doctor may use machines called Gamma Knife and Cyberknife to attack cancer cells.
What To Do If You Notice Unusual Symptoms
Because lung cancer can be present for a while without showing obvious symptoms, these lung cancer symptoms are unexpected but important to understand. Many symptoms, like stomach aches, arent easily recognizable as signs of a serious illness. The good news is, the more informed you are about the disease, the more likely you will be to get diagnosed earlier. The earlier you are diagnosed, the more treatment options your doctors will have.
If youre experiencing any of the above symptoms and are worried about their possible links to lung cancer, its important to speak with your primary care doctor. This is especially important if you are a smoker or a past smoker since it is one of the leading causes of lung cancer. Well perform a thorough evaluation of your symptoms, review your medical history, and perform the necessary diagnostic tests.
In the fight against dangerous diseases, knowledge is your best weapon.
Breathing Changes Or Wheezing
Shortness of breath or becoming easily winded are also possible symptoms of lung cancer. Changes in breathing can occur if lung cancer blocks or narrows an airway, or if fluid from a lung tumor builds up in the chest.
Make note of when you feel winded or short of breath. If you find it difficult to breathe after climbing stairs or performing tasks you once found easy, dont ignore it.
When your airways become constricted, blocked, or inflamed, your lungs may produce a wheezing or whistling sound when you breathe. This can have multiple causes, some of which are benign and easily treatable.
However, wheezing can also be a symptom of lung cancer, so its a good idea to bring it to your doctors attention. Its best not to assume that wheezing is caused by asthma or allergies. Have your doctor confirm the cause.
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Types Of Lung Cancer In Women
The symptoms of lung cancer usually are determined by its location in the lungs. Symptoms depend on the type of lung cancer causing them, as well.
There are two major categories of lung cancer:
- Non-small cell lung cancer : NSCLC is the most common type, accounting for roughly 85% of lung cancers. NSCLC includes different subtypes that have various characteristics.
- Small cell lung cancer : SCLC is less common than in the past, and accounts for roughly 10%15% of lung cancers. It is the type of lung cancer most strongly associated with smoking. Small cell lung cancers tend to grow near the large airways. Because of this, they tend to cause symptoms early such as a cough, coughing up blood, wheezing, and repeated respiratory tract infections.
A third category, carcinoid tumors, makes up 1%2% of lung tumors. These tumors are not associated with smoking and tend to occur in younger women. Many of these tumors are very slow-growing tumors.
Non-small cell lung cancers are, in turn, broken down into:
Extreme Thirst And Frequent Urination
Thirst is common with the sudden onset of warmer weather, but sudden extreme thirst is a symptom that you should always discuss with your doctor. Some lung cancer tumors create a protein that acts very similar to the parathyroid hormone produced by the parathyroid gland. The parathyroid gland and kidneys normally regulate calcium levels in the body.
Cancer tumors can disrupt the process of regulating calcium, and lead to too much calcium in the bloodstream. Having a higher than usual level of calcium in the blood is called hypercalcemia, and about 10% to 20% of people with cancer develop hypercalcemia. High calcium levels are associated with being thirst and frequent urination.
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Here Is A List Of The Most Common Symptoms Of Lung Cancer
- Tiredness or fatigue
- A cough that does not go away
- Coughing up blood or even red or rust-colored phlegm
- Pain in your chest that worsens with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing
- Weight loss and loss of appetite
- Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that dont go away or keep coming back
- New onset of wheezing
Puffiness In The Face Arms And Neck
Sometimes tumors can block off the superior vena cava, a large vein that carries blood from the head and arms to the heart. When this occurs, blood gets trapped in the upper body, resulting in swelling of the face, neck, and arms. It may also produce a bluish-red discoloration on the chest. The swelling may start in one area and move to others as the condition gets worse.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Lung Cancer
Coughing and chest pain may be symptoms of lung cancer.
Different people have different symptoms for lung cancer. Some people have symptoms related to the lungs. Some people whose lung cancer has spread to other parts of the body have symptoms specific to that part of the body. Some people just have general symptoms of not feeling well. Most people with lung cancer dont have symptoms until the cancer is advanced. Lung cancer symptoms may include
- Coughing that gets worse or doesnt go away.
- Feeling very tired all the time.
- Weight loss with no known cause.
Other changes that can sometimes occur with lung cancer may include repeated bouts of pneumonia and swollen or enlarged lymph nodes inside the chest in the area between the lungs.
These symptoms can happen with other illnesses, too. If you have some of these symptoms, talk to your doctor, who can help find the cause.
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These May Save Your Life
Doru Paul, MD, is triple board-certified in medical oncology, hematology, and internal medicine. He is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and attending physician in the Department of Hematology and Oncology at the New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Many people with lung cancer show no signs or symptoms at the early stages of cancer development. But by looking back at what symptoms people diagnosed with lung cancer have reported, we can gain insight into some early warning signs people at high risk for lung cancer can look out for.
Early-stage lung cancer is more survivable than advanced cancers that have spread to other parts of the body. But because the lungs have very few nerve endings, they dont feel pain or other sensations, so early signs of cancer are hard to come by.
Verywell /Ellen Lindner
Depending on the type of lung cancer developing, early signs of lung cancer might include referred pain , chronic cough, breathing issues, and weight loss. Some of these symptoms are dependent on the type of cancer, and not every early case of lung cancer has all of these symptoms.
Most often, symptoms of lung cancer only show up as the tumor becomes more advanced. Even relatively large tumors dont always cause pain or discomfort.
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Prognosis For Lung Cancer
Prognosis refers to the expected outcome of a disease. While it is not possible for a doctor to predict the exact course of the disease, they can give you an idea about the general outlook for people with the same type and stage of cancer.
Your doctor will consider your test results, the type of lung cancer you have, the rate and extent of tumour growth, and other factors including your age, overall health and whether you are a smoker.
The earlier the cancer is found the better the treatment outcomes will be.
Types Of Lung Cancer In Women And Men
The types of lung cancer differ among women and men as well:
- Women tend to develop NSCLC more than men.
- Women are more likely to be diagnosed with lung adenocarcinoma than men .
- Female nonsmokers are more likely than male nonsmokers to be diagnosed with the lung cancer subtype bronchioalveolar carcinoma.
- Women who have lung cancer are more likely to live longer than men.
- Women who undergo surgery for some lung cancers, including NSCLC, also live longer than men. Women have a better response to chemotherapy treatments for lung cancer than men do.
- Men are more likely to be diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma than women.
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What Are The Complications Of Lung Cancer
Some people with lung cancer will develop symptoms, such as shortness of breath, a cough and/or chest pain, because of how the cancer affects the lungs function. As it advances, lung cancer may cause other complications. These can include fluid build-up in the space around your lung . Lung cancer can also affect your appetite and you may lose weight. You may feel very fatigued and/or have difficulty sleeping.
You may also experience these symptoms and others as side effects of lung-cancer treatments.
Your medical team has a lot of experience in treating symptoms and complications of lung cancer and can give you advice and support to manage them.
Even if you are receiving cancer treatment, there is still a chance that your cancer can spread to another part of your body . If this happens, you and your medical team may adjust your cancer treatment plan.
When To Get These Lung Cancer Symptoms Checked Out
If you’re experiencing any one of these symptoms for more than a month, it’s time to get checked out.
“All it takes is a little CT scan,” says Dr. Flores. Your doctor may also want to do a bronchoscopy, a procedure where they look at your airways through a thin tube.
But dont freak out. In the vast majority of the cases, lung cancer wont be the cause of the symptoms. And the younger you are, the more likely it is that these symptoms are caused by non-cancer causessay, acid reflux conditions like GERD can cause hoarseness, while asthma can cause wheezing. In fact, 91 percent of all lung cancer cases are diagnosed in people 55 or above, according to SEER data.
“Most of the time, they won’t find anything,” says Dr. Flores. But if there is cancer to be found, getting checked out as soon as possible makes it more likely that you’ll catch it at a treatable stage .
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Symptom: Shortness Of Breath
Shortness of breath could also be a sign of lung cancer. If a lung cancer tumor is blocking a major airway, it could cause shortness of breath. Sometimes fluid in the lungs can make breathing difficult and this could also be a sign of lung cancer. See your doctor if you have shortness of breath that concerns you.
Unexpected Signs And Symptoms Of Lung Cancer
5 min read
It is widely believed that a cough is the primary sign of lung cancer, or that everyone diagnosed with lung cancer would experience shortness of breath. However, thats not always the case. In fact, there are several surprising signs and symptoms that can indicate lung cancer.
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What Is Lung Cancer
Like other cancers, lung cancer develops when normal processes of cell division and growth are disrupted, giving way to abnormal, uncontrollable growth. The cells grow into a mass, or tumor. Any abnormal growth in the body that directly invades surrounding tissues and organs, spreads to other parts of the body, or has the potential to grow back after being removed is called malignant, or cancerous.
What Are The Treatments For Lung Cancer
For most patients with lung cancer, current treatments do not cure the cancer.
Your treatment will depend on which type of lung cancer you have, how far it has spread, your overall health, and other factors. You may get more than one type of treatment.
The treatments for small cell lung cancer include:
- Laser therapy, which uses a laser beam to kill cancer cells
- Endoscopic stent placement. An endoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument used to look at tissues inside the body. It may be used to put in a device called a stent. The stent helps to open an airway that has been blocked by abnormal tissue.
The treatments for non-small cell lung cancer include:
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy, which uses drugs or other substances that attack specific cancer cells with less harm to normal cells
- Cryosurgery, which uses an instrument to freeze and destroy abnormal tissue
- Electrocautery, a treatment that uses a probe or needle heated by an electric current to destroy abnormal tissue
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Signs Of Lung Cancer You Should Know
Know the signs and symptoms! In the early stages of lung cancer, symptoms do not usually manifest this is because the lungs do not have a significant amount of pain receptors. Many early lung cancers are diagnosed as an incidental finding with a test for a different purpose. But when they do appear, knowing the warning signs of lung cancer may allow you to get screened earlier. Finding lung cancer early allows for more personalized treatment options, with a much better success rate. Having one of the following symptoms of lung cancer is generally not a cause for worry, but if you experience multiple symptoms for an extended amount of time, its time to see your doctor.
How Is Lung Cancer Diagnosed
Lung cancer is diagnosed with a range of tests and scans. When you visit your doctor, they may ask you questions about your general health and medical and family history. They may also perform a physical examination. They may then refer you for blood tests and/or scans.
You may have blood tests to find out your general state of health and how well your kidneys and liver are functioning. You may have scans, such as x-rays and computerised tomography scans, to look inside your body for signs of cancer. You may also have tests to determine how well your lungs are functioning .
If your doctor is concerned about any findings that these tests show, they may refer you to a specialist doctor for more tests. These can include more scans, such as positron emission tomography scans, or procedures such as a bronchoscopy. A bronchoscopy involves looking into your trachea and the large airways of your lungs for abnormalities. It is performed by a specialist doctor, usually as a day procedure under sedation or a light general anaesthetic. This means you will be asleep during the procedure and you will not feel it. You may have a sore throat and/or cough up some blood after the procedure, but most people recover quickly.
You may also be asked to provide a sample of sputum or have fluid drained from around your lungs to look for cancer cells.
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Smoking Is One Of The Main Causes Of Lung Cancer:
- Smoking causes 80% of the lung cancer deaths in women and 90% in men.
- Men that smoke are 23 times more likely to get lung cancer.
- Female smokers are 13 times more prone to develop lung cancer.
But non-smokers get lung cancer too risk factors include radon gas and worked-related exposure to carcinogens. Non-smokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke have a 20-30% greater risk for developing lung cancer.
Lung cancer is most common in people over 65. However, younger adults can and do develop lung cancer, but less than 2% of patients are below 35.
Lung Cancer Sign: Hoarseness
A hoarse, raspy, or weak voice can be another indicator of lung cancer.
“There’s a nerve called the recurrent laryngeal nerve that goes between your trachea and esophagus and under your aorta,” says Dr. Flores. It connects to your larynx , and if a tumor is pressing on this nerve, it can become paralyzed.
” your vocal cords don’t close, and you need your vocal cords to close to be able to cough, sing, and speak,” says Dr. Flores. He notes that hoarseness can also be a symptom of vocal cord cancerwhich is also associated with smoking.