Lung cancer is the development and growth of a tumor in the lungs. Lung cancers can be of several different subtypes, including adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and small-cell lung cancer.
Patients with lung cancer may report symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, weight loss, fatigue, or pain. Most lung cancers are associated with tobacco smoke exposure. Other causes include genetics, asbestos, and environmental exposure.
The diagnosis of lung cancer is usually made after an abnormal chest X-ray or CT scan, which prompts a biopsy of the tumor. Biopsies can be performed via bronchoscopy, needle aspiration, or minimally invasive lung surgery. Once a diagnosis of lung cancer is made, it is important to determine the stage of the tumor, which corresponds to the likelihood of long-term cure. Lung cancers that are limited to a small area of the lung are more readily treated than cancers which have spread to other parts of the body.
Treatment options for lung cancer include surgery to remove the tumor, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Specific treatments are tailored for the particular type of tumor and the stage of the tumor, as well as the overall health of the patient with lung cancer.