What Organs Are Affected by Lung Cancer?

As lung cancer is seldom diagnosed while at an early stage, and usually only by accident after a doctor has ordered a routine chest X-ray for another health issue, other vital organs in the body have already been affected by metastasis (its spread). It is quite common for 25% of all lung cancer sufferers to show no signs at all of having lung cancer present.

Unfortunately for many, the damage that has been caused to these organs is usually permanent. As the disease develops, metastasis is usually found not only in regional tissue, but in distant tissue too, allowing for it to move with relative ease throughout the body while infecting whatever gets in its way. Organs commonly affected by lung cancer are:

The Liver – Often the liver and adrenal glands (endocrine [glands that secrete hormones directly into the blood, and not through a duct] that sit at the top of the kidneys) are affected over a considerable amount of time without any noticeable symptoms to the sufferer.

The Brain – Usually the first symptoms that the brain has been affected by lung cancer metastasis is when the sufferer begins to have visual problems, memory loss problems, headaches, a noticeable loss of strength, or a partial seizure has occurred.

The Bones – When the bones have been affected, usually a noticeable discomfort will be present either in the vertebrae (backbone), or the ribs and thighs. Although these symptoms may be present much more earlier on, they usually either go unnoticed, or just get put down to the after-effects of something else.

The Nerves – Also prone to lung cancer metastasis are the nerves, when affected can cause many sufferers to experience aching pains in the shoulders that may also run along the outer-side of either arm.

The Vocal Cords – When the esophagus (the conduit that connects the mouth and stomach) has been affected, a sufferer may experience difficulty in swallowing. Often, this is when part of the lung has collapsed, resulting in an infection in the lung that can be extremely difficult to treat.

General Symptoms – When more organs in the body have been affected, a lack of appetite, weight loss (usually occurring when no exercise or dietary regime has been put in place), bleeding, and blood clotting may be noticed. Often when these symptoms are present, they easily go unnoticed due to being similar to the after-effects of other less serious illnesses.

However, if symptoms are persistent, it is always prudent to get them checked out by a doctor as soon as possible, as when lung cancer has metastasized to other vital organs in the body, a patients 5-year prognosis after diagnosis, is usually very poor.

Popular Procedures for Lung Cancer Treatment

Lung Cancer is the most fatal and responsible for the most number of deaths among all cancers. But thankfully, it is not beyond treatment, especially in its earlier stages. The best type of Lung Cancer Treatment depends on the stage and nature of the cancer. Appropriateness of the recommended treatment depends on the expertise of the Lung Cancer Specialist and goes a long way into ensuring a successful recovery. This article provides an overview of the most popular methods of treating Lung Cancer and the common side-effects associated with them.

Surgery

Surgery is the most common way of treating Lung Cancer. It involves removal of the tumor along with the affected part of the lung. Though this is a popular step, its feasibility largely depends on the stage of the cancer. Surgery is preferably not opted for, if the cancer has spread to other places. The types of surgery for Lung Cancer are determined by the size of the lung tissue which requires to get removed.

The procedure is termed Wedge Resection when only a small part of the lung has to be removed. Lobectomy or Bilobectomy is the removal of an entire lobe of the lung. In extreme cases, the entire lung may be required to be removed, in which case, it is called Pneumonectomy. Both Thoracotomy (large incision) and VATS or Video-assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (small incision) can be used for Lung Cancer Surgery. The side-effects include complications due to surgery and pain.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation Therapy is used in 3 cases. It is used to shrink the tumor before surgery, kill the remaining cancer cells that may be left after surgery, or as the primary method of Cancer Treatment. Radiation Therapy, as the primary treatment, is mostly used when the cancer has spread too far for surgery to be feasible. The radiations can be administered either from outside the body or from right within the tumor.

Radiation Therapy is however a complicated process with a host of side-effects, like skin reactions, sore throat, nausea, pain, tiredness, etc. Reaction to Radio Therapy is usually quite fast but managing the side-effects is the task of an expert.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy, just like Radiation Therapy, attempts to destroy the cancerous cells. However, in this case, special drugs are used in place of radiation. The drugs are administered through tablets or intravenous lines. Chemotherapy has a huge risk of killing the healthy cells too leading to side effects like appetite loss, hair loss, fatigue, and more. Chemotherapy is being replaced with targeted therapy which is more accurate in attacking the cancerous cells.

Complementary Therapies

Many patients are going for complementary therapies to accompany their regular treatment regime. Techniques like meditation, Yoga, Therapeutic Touch, Ayurved, etc. have shown to lessen the effects of side effects and provide relief. However, it is highly recommended to consult your Lung Specialist on the same.

Consultation

Lung Cancer, being fatal, can take a lot of toll on the mental health of the patient and his near and dear ones. The Top Lung Cancer Treatment Centers have facilities for consultation on the same in their own premises or tie ups with those that provide the same.

The above are the some of the most popular methods that are being used to treat cancer. As further study on the matter brings newer facts to light, we are hopefully moving towards a world where Lung Cancer can kill no more. Till that times, ensure good health for your lungs with regular visits to a Lung Specialist.

Hospitals Offer Lung Cancer Screening – Do You Need to Be Tested?

Lung Cancer Screening At Hospitals

Hospitals all over the country offer screening for lung cancer. According to the CDC, the choice to get screened should be an educated one.

Lung Cancer Screening

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in America for both men and women. According to recent estimates, the lung cancer accounts for over 150,000 deaths each year, more than the next three leading causes (colon, breast, and pancreatic cancer) combined. This is a worrying phenomenon, undoubtedly precipitated by an individual’s rate of tobacco smoking, as well as by factors related to air pollution, such as car exhaust, industrial emissions, and other emissions that can blanket cities in dense smog. It is a serious epidemic that has long-lasting effects on everyone diagnosed, even if the symptoms are identified early on. As a result, testing for lung cancer is very important. Many hospitals offer free screening, and it is highly advisable to go through screening if you are at risk.

Who is at risk?

As with most serious diseases, many people would rather not admit that they are at risk for lung cancer. While understandable, this knee-jerk aversion must be stopped. Many people would greatly benefit from an early diagnosis, because modern medical techniques can greatly assist those who are diagnosed. According to the CDC, people with a heavy history of smoking who still continue to smoke should be tested at one of their local hospitals. This includes people who have stopped smoking within the last 15 years, as well as people between the ages of 55 and 80 who have smoked in the past. Heavy smoking is defined as 30 pack-years, or 30 years of smoking a pack a day.

Why shouldn’t everyone be tested?

With a disease as formidable as lung cancer, it might seem surprising that the CDC doesn’t recommend that every American be tested. However, the test has its own risks, which can be severe and are, at any rate, grounds for caution. The first risk is a false-positive test result. A false-positive result occurs if the test indicates that the patient has the disease when in fact they do not. This sort of result can result in over-testing and even unnecessary surgery.

The second risk is the over-diagnosis of lung cancer, which occurs when the patient has lung cancer, but the tumor is completely benign and will not cause the patient any problems. These cases often result in unnecessary treatments.

Finally, there is the issue of radiation exposure. The only test recommended by the CDC is called “low-dose computed tomography,” or a CT scan. A CT scan involves an X-ray machine that uses low doses of radiation to take pictures of the lungs. The radiation from a CT scan can cause cancer, even in healthy people, if the test is repeated too often. For these reasons, medical professionals only recommend that people commit to regular screenings if they are at risk. Be sure to look for hospitals that follow the CDC’s recommended practices.