Lung Cancer 101: Everything You Need to Know

Lung Cancer 101: Everything You Need to Know

Lung cancer is definitely a scary diagnosis, and it can be overwhelming trying to navigate what comes next all by yourself. Whether you or a loved one is dealing with this new reality, it’s important to be in the know as you consider all of your options; this naturally leads to many new questions. We’ll answer some of these questions, like what normally is the first symptom of lung cancer, what is the life expectancy of a person with lung cancer, and is cancer in the lungs curable?

Common Questions About Lung Cancer:

What Is It?

Like other types of cancer, lung cancer is characterized by the growth of “abnormal” cells in the lung tissue. These “abnormal” cells’ growth will be unrestricted by the body and they often quickly invade nearby organs and tissue types. Once the tumor has entered the blood or lymph system, the tumor is said to have “metastasized” and is much more difficult to treat.

What Are the Symptoms?

Lung cancer has many different symptoms, depending on what stage of the disease you are in. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Chest pain, especially when breathing deeply or coughing
  • Hoarse voice or a cough that never seems to go away
  • Wheezing and shortness of breath that seems to linger
  • Fatigue, tiredness, and muscle weakness
  • Coughing up blood or brown phlegm
  • In later stages: nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure & sugar, seizures, confusion, or coma.

What Normally Is the First Symptom of Lung Cancer?

The first sign that you may be dealing with lung cancer will be a persistent cough and hoarseness that is caused by the lingering cough. You might also have some wheezing.

Who Is Most at Risk?

As most of us are already aware, smoking cigarettes is one of the major factors in a person’s likelihood of developing lung cancer. However, some of the other factors are less known:

  • Secondhand cigarette smoke exposure
  • Asbestos exposure
  • Radon exposure
  • Arsenic exposure
  • Family history
  • Prior chest radiotherapy

What Is the Life Expectancy of a Person With Lung Cancer?

This is a difficult question to answer; as you can imagine, life expectancy is going to vary greatly depending on when the cancer is caught. For example, your chances of survival are much greater if your cancer is discovered in stage 1. Only your oncologist will be able to provide you with realistic expectations in this regard.

Is Cancer in the Lungs Curable?

Yes, lung cancer is certainly curable. However, the extent to which your cancer has damaged your lungs needs to be taken into consideration. As we mentioned above, early-stage lung cancer is far easier to cure (usually) than late-stage cancer.

Lung Cancer Treatment at Suncoast Surgical Associates

Here at Suncoast Surgical Associates, Dr. Richard Picciocca & Dr. Michael Siegman both specialize in thoracic procedures such as tumor removal from the lungs. Our dedicated care team will work closely with you and your oncologist to make sure you get the treatment you need and deserve. Contact our office or ask your oncologist for a referral today!

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