Lung Cancer Overview
The lungs are the two organs located beneath the rib cage that provide life-sustaining oxygen throughout the body. They are neither symmetrical nor functionally identical, with the left lung consisting of two lobes and the right three. Lung cancer begins when cells of a lung become abnormal and begin growing out of control. When the abnormal cancer cells grow, they can form into a tumor and even spread to other areas of the body (metastasize).
Lung cancer is designated by two types. Both are named for the kinds of cells found in the cancer and how the cells appear when viewed under a microscope. The cancer cells of each type grow and spread in different ways.
- Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) – The more common type of lung cancer.
- Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC) – The less common type of lung cancer.
If you or someone you know has recently been diagnosed with lung cancer, it’s important to gather and learn as much information about the disease as possible. The medical oncologists and supportive care team at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers are experienced in lung cancer care and are here to help guide you through your cancer care journey.
Signs & Symptoms of Lung Cancer
Unfortunately, lung cancer can happen to anyone, and treatment for lung cancer is more likely to be effective if the cancer is diagnosed early. Therefore, it is important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of lung cancer.
Detecting & Diagnosing Lung Cancer
If there is a suspicion that you may have lung cancer, your doctor will order tests to look for cancerous cells and make a lung cancer diagnosis. There are a variety of tests that can be used to diagnose either Non-Small Cell or Small Cell Lung Cancer.
Types of Lung Cancer
Lung cancers are broadly classified into two types which are then broken down into a specific subtype. It’s important to understand the different types as it will affect both your treatment options and your prognosis.
Staging Lung Cancer
It is important for your cancer care team to determine the extent of your lung cancer, including if it has spread. Treatment decisions and outlook are both affected by the stage and type of your lung cancer.
Lung Cancer Treatment Options
At RMCC, we work with our patients to create personalized lung cancer treatment plans based on the size, type, and stage of your lung cancer. You and your oncologist will work together to decide on the best cancer treatment for you.
Lung Cancer Causes & Risk Factors
There are a variety of factors that can increase your risk of lung cancer. While there are some obvious risk factors, such as smoking and exposure to certain chemicals like asbestos, other risk factors aren’t quite as well-known.