Lung cancer is the most common type of cancer in both men and women in this country. According to the American Cancer Society, almost 220,000 people are diagnosed with it each year. It is the leading cause of cancer death.
Lung cancer forms in the tissues of the lungs, most often in the cells that line air passages. It occurs when cells in your lungs grow and multiply uncontrollably, damaging surrounding tissue and interfering with the lungs’ normal function.
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. However, 10 percent to 15 percent of lung cancer patients have never smoked. Exposure to high levels of cancer causing chemicals, radon gas, asbestos and radiation also increase a person’s risk.
For people with a high risk of lung cancer – those with a significant smoking history for example – may be eligible to participate in the Cooper High Risk Lung Cancer Screening Program – which provides eligible patients with access to a low-dose spiral CT scan to catch small cancers early when they can be treated most effectively.
Most lung cancers are diagnosed in advanced stages – contributing to high mortality rates. That’s because early lung cancer may not cause any symptoms.
If you have persistent cough, are coughing up blood, or have shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss or fatigue, especially if you have a history of smoking, talk to your doctor.
Types of Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is classified by the type of cells within the tumor. Each type of lung cancer grows and is treated in a different way. Lung cancers are divided into two main groups.
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type of lung cancer. The categories of non-small cell lung cancer are named for the type of cells in the cancer:
- Adenocarcinoma begins in cells that line the alveoli and make mucus. It is found more often in nonsmokers, women and younger people.
- Squamous cell carcinoma (cancer) begins in thin, flat cells in the lungs, and tobacco smoking most often causes it. It also is called epidermoid carcinoma.
- Large cell carcinoma (cancer) begins in certain types of large cells in the lungs.
Small cell lung cancer
Small cell lung cancer, also known as oat-cell cancer, makes up less than 20 percent of lung cancers and almost always is caused by tobacco smoking. It often starts in the bronchi, then quickly grows and spreads to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes.
Other types of lung cancer
Less common types of lung cancer include:
- Carcinoid tumors
- Salivary gland carcinoma
- Some sarcomas
- Cancer of unknown primary
Cancer found in the lungs is sometimes another type of cancer that started somewhere else in the body (like the breast or liver) and spread, or metastasized, to the lungs. These tumors are called lung metastases, and they are not the same as lung cancer. They usually are the primary, or original, type of cancer.
Lung Cancer Treatment
Treatment for lung cancer depends on the type of cancer, the stage, the patient’s overall health and his/her personal goals. In some cases patients may only require one treatment type, while other patients may need a combination of treatments.
At Cooper, new chemotherapy regimens, targeted drug therapies, minimally invasive surgical techniques and advanced radiation therapy tools such as the CyberKnife and the Gamma Knife give our cancer experts more options to treat lung cancer and improve patient outcomes.
Treatment for Lung Cancer
Treatments for lung cancer available in South Jersey at Cooper include:
Departments Specializing in Lung Cancer Treatment
Departments at Cooper that treat Lung Cancer include:
Physicians Who Specialize in Lung Cancer
Our lung cancer specialists include: