Types of Lung Cancers

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Lung Cancer is a serious disease that affects one or both of the lungs. Cancerous cells develop and continue to grow overtaking the healthy lungs. Tumors can begin to form making the fight for a healthy lung even harder. Most lung cancer is related to smoking, however not all smokers get lung cancer and there are other factors that cause lung cancer (lungcancer.org).

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There are three main types of lung cancer, small cell lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, and asbestos related or mesothelioma cancer. In all of the cases there is no guarantee that treatments will cure the lung cancer, however treatments can prolong life.

Small cell lung cancer:

Small cell lung cancers accounts for about 20% of all lung cancers and is the most destructive of the types due to the fast reproduction of cancerous cells and aggressive nature, (oncologychannel.com).

Treatment of small cell lung cancer is usually limited to radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments. When small cell lung cancer is detected, it is usually too advanced for a surgical removal of the diseased or tumor areas. In some rare cases, when small cell lung cancer is caught early, surgical removal of cancerous areas can be performed. However, most small cell lung cancer treatments are based solely on radio and chemo therapies (webmd.com and oncologychannel.com).

“The survival rate for those diagnosed with small cell lung cancer, with chemo and radiation treatment, is 18-20 months. There is a 20-40% chance of a two-year life span with chemo and radiation treatment”, (webmd.com). “Treatment with chemotherapy only, decreases the survival rate to 10-12 months with a 1-3% chance of two year survival.”

Non-small cell lung cancer:

There are three main types of non-small cell lung cancers: adenocarcinomas, squamous carcinomam, and large cell carcinoma. They each grow at different rates and attack the lung in different areas. Adenocarcinoma cells begin in the glandular area of the lungs. Squamous carcinomam cancer cells begin growth in the bronchial tubes. The large cell carcinoma begins growth near the surface of the lungs, (lungcancer.org).

Treatment varies depending on the size of the tumors, if and where the cancer has spread and what type of non-small lung cancer it is. If the tumors are small and detected early, surgery can be preformed to remove the cancerous areas. There is no guarantee that the cells will not grow back. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments are also used to treat non-small lung cancers. Any combination of the three also can be used to treat non-small cell lung cancers.

If the cancer does not attack the lymph nodes there is a greater chance of survival of five or more years with a surgical removal of the cancer. The chance is 43-64%. This rate declines greatly if the cancer attacks the lymph nodes and if there is a need for chemo and radio therapies. It declines to a rate of 7-17% chance of five-year survival (webmd.com).

Asbestos or mesothelioma:

Mesothelioma is a cancer usually caused by breathing asbestos and begins its growth in the chest cavity. As it progresses the malignant cells spread through out the lungs, diaphragm and stomach. Mesothelioma is not a common cancer but cannot be considered rare as more cases are being seen in the United States (mesoinfo.com). There are 2,000 to 3,000 new diagnosis’s a year.

Treatment for mesothelioma varies, like the other forms of lung cancer, depending on when it is diagnosed and what stage it is in. The three main types of treatment options are surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, however there are many new treatments being developed and tested. Surgery is a common treatment for mesothelioma, where the malignant cells are removed.

The survival rate of mesothelioma depends on the stage of the cancer and what treatment is taken. The average survival rate is one year and with early diagnosis and treatment there is a chance for two-year survival and there is a 20% chance of survival of five or more years (mesoinfo.com). The survival rates are different for each person and each person reacts to treatment differently.

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