Lung cancer is a common malignancy most often seen in people who
smoke or who smoked in the past. Cure and control are possible depending on how advanced the disease is when it is diagnosed.
Lung carcinomas are divided into 2 general categories: small cell and non small cell. Small cell lung
carcinomas are aggressive malignancies that are often treated with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation when limited
in stage; or when the spread is more extensive, with chemotherapy. Non small cell carcinomas are treated with surgery if feasible.
Patients with non small cell carcinoma who are not operable because of the extent of the disease are treated with chemotherapy
and radiation either to make the tumor operable (preoperatively), or as the definitive treatment. Patients with non small
cell carcinoma who are not operable due to their overall medical status are treated with radiation therapy alone, or with
radiation and chemotherapy.
At Terk Oncology, 3D treatment planning and Intensity Modulated Radiation
Therapy are utilized to treat our lung cancer patients. With these techniques, we can maximally spare normal surrounding tissues
(i.e. Normal lung, spinal cord, heart), while aggressively treating the tumor.
The majority of patients with lung carcinoma have exposure to chemicals that are cancer causing agents. Some
patient’s with lung cancer have no obvious risk factor.
- Tobacco — Smoking is by far the leading
cause of lung cancer. The amount of tobacco exposure is proportionate with the chance of developing a lung carcinoma.
- Family history
- Persistent cough
- Shortness of breath
- Continuous chest pain
- Coughing up blood
- Having many lung infections
- Hoarse voice
- Constantly being tired
- Unexplained weight loss
Chest x-rays usually show an abnormality in patients presenting with lung cancer. Follow up chest CT tests
further reveal the extent of disease in the lung and chest cavity. A biopsy is performed either via CT guidance (with a needle
through the chest), or via bronchoscopy. In bronchoscopy, a tube is placed down the trachea. The tumor is found and a biopsy
Staging work up for lung carcinoma includes CT of the Chest/Abdomen/Pelvis,
PET/CT and MRI of the brain. The extent of disease will determine the stage.