According to the American Cancer Society, around 80-85% of lung cancers are non-small cell lung cancer. There are two main types of lung cancers: small cell and non-small cell lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer occurs in the small-sized cells in the center of the chest, whereas non-small cell lung cancer develops in large-sized cells lining the lungs. Non-small cell lung cancer is a slow-growing tumor compared to small cell lung cancer. It occurs in the airway passage of the lungs, such as the bronchi, bronchioles, and alveoli.
Based on the origin of the cancerous cells, non-small cell lung cancer types can be classified as
Adenocarcinoma is the most common non-small cell lung cancer that develops in epithelial cells lining the outer side of the lungs. These cells secrete mucous-like substances.
Squamous cell carcinoma occurs in flat, squamous cells that line the airways of the lungs. This carcinoma is usually found in the central part of the lungs.
It is a rare and aggressive type of non-small cell lung carcinoma that can occur in any part of the lungs.
Common signs and symptoms of non-small cell lung cancer may include
The treatment options depend on the type and stage of non-small cell lung cancer and the overall health of the patient.
Oncologists surgically remove the entire tumor and a minimum of 2 millimeters of cancer-free tissues surrounding the cancerous area. The extent of surgery depends on the location, stage, and area of the body involved.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to destroy cancerous cells to treat non-small cell lung cancer. Radiation can be delivered via an external machine outside the body called external beam radiotherapy. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is a specific type of radiotherapy which effectively provides radiation to cancerous cells and spares healthy cells, thereby reducing the side effects.
Chemotherapy uses systemic anti-cancer drugs, which enter the bloodstream and reach and destroy rapidly growing cancer cells.
Targeted drug therapy explicitly targets specific cell proteins or genes that block the growth and spread of cancer. It causes fewer side effects and spares healthy cells because of its specific action.
Immunotherapy treatment, also called biologic therapy, uses a specific protein to enhance the patient's immune system cells' ability to target and destroy cancer cells.
The following tests and procedures may be recommended, depending on the symptoms of non-small cell lung cancer, age, and general health of the patient:
A sample of cough (sputum) is collected early in the morning for three consecutive days, which is later examined in the lab to identify the presence of cancerous cells. It is helpful to diagnose cancer that develops in the primary airway of the lungs.
A biopsy provides a definitive diagnosis of cancer. The procedure involves the removal of a tissue sample for microscopic examination. A biopsy can be performed using a fine needle to remove tissue fluid or cells from the suspicious area (FNAC) or surgical removal of a part of the tumor.
A lung cancer specialist gently inserts a thin, lighted, and flexible tube called a bronchoscope through the mouth/nose into the windpipe and airway passage to examine the structures inside the lungs. Anesthesia is administered before the procedure to prevent pain and gagging.
Thoracentesis, also called a pleural tap, collects the fluid from the space between the lung lining and the inner chest wall (pleural space). Local anesthesia is used to numb the area before inserting the hollow needle to collect the fluid, which is later examined in the laboratory for any abnormal changes.
High-intensity radiation is used to produce detailed 3-dimensional computerized images. They are used to locate and measure the tumor's size. Various imaging tests used are:
A biomarker test is a molecular test that identifies specific genes, proteins, and other factors unique to non-small cell lung cancer.
The cancer specialists at ACTC in Florida offer outstanding patient care by prescribing personalized and evidence-based treatment plans tailored to individual patients' needs. We aim to foster a positive environment that focuses on physical and mental health throughout a cancer patient's journey.
The following are our providers who you can consult at ACTC:
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer, a detailed discussion with your primary physician will help you understand your condition better. Your primary care doctor can then refer you to an advanced specialty center, such as ACTC in Florida.
As one of Florida's best cancer centers, we understand how a cancer diagnosis and therapy impact a person's physical and emotional well-being. Therefore, we work hard to make patients and their families feel secure. We understand how imperative it is for you and your loved one to make informed choices and play an active part in your medical care. We at ACTC strive to support you at every step of diagnosis, staging, treatment, and long-term follow-up in one convenient location. Our cancer specialists are backed up by qualified clinical staff with over two decades of experience and a reputation for providing personalized non-small cell lung cancer treatment.
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Small cell lung cancer is aggressive cancer that affects small-sized cells in the middle of the lungs. It spreads and invades the nearby tissues faster than non-small cell lung cancer.
Tobacco consumption, increased intake of alcohol, occupational inhalants (like asbestos and radon), poor nutrition, and genetic and viral factors increase the risk factor for non-small cell lung cancer.
An early stage of non-small cell lung cancer causes persistent cough, blood in the sputum, shortness of breath, and pain in the chest, back, and stomach.
Non-small cell is a slow-growing tumor with a better prognosis than small cell lung cancer. However, chances of recovery also depend on the type and stage of the non-small cell lung cancer, the patient's general health and age, or if the cancer has recurred.