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Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer | Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer | Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) is one of the most common types of lung cancer. It accounts for about 85% of all lung cancer cases. Understanding NSCLC, its causes, symptoms, and available treatments can help in early detection and effective management.

Causes of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Several factors can contribute to the development of NSCLC.

➦ Smoking

Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. Both active smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke significantly increase the risk of developing NSCLC.

➦ Environmental Exposure

Exposure to harmful substances like asbestos, radon gas, and certain chemicals can increase the risk of lung cancer. People working in industries such as mining, construction, and manufacturing are more susceptible.

➦ Genetic Factors

Family history plays a role in NSCLC. If close family members have had lung cancer, the risk is higher.

➦ Air Pollution

Prolonged exposure to air pollution can also contribute to lung cancer. Urban areas with high pollution levels see more cases of NSCLC.

Symptoms of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Early detection of NSCLC can be challenging because symptoms often appear in advanced stages. However, being aware of the common symptoms can help.

➦ Persistent Cough

A long-lasting cough that doesn’t go away, or changes in a chronic cough, can be an early sign.

➦ Chest Pain

Pain in the chest, especially when coughing or laughing, might indicate lung issues.

➦ Shortness of Breath

Difficulty in breathing or feeling short of breath during routine activities could be a symptom.

➦ Unexplained Weight Loss

Losing weight without trying can be a sign of lung cancer or other serious conditions.

➦ Fatigue

Feeling extremely tired or weak despite adequate rest can be a warning sign.

➦ Coughing Up Blood

Hemoptysis, or coughing up blood, is a significant symptom that requires immediate medical attention.

Diagnosis of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

If any of the above symptoms are present, it’s essential to seek medical advice. Several tests can help diagnose NSCLC.

➦ Imaging Tests

X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs can help visualize the lungs and detect abnormalities.

➦ Biopsy

A sample of lung tissue is taken and examined for cancer cells.

➦ Sputum Cytology

Examining mucus from the lungs can sometimes reveal the presence of cancer cells.

➦ Bronchoscopy

A thin tube with a camera is inserted into the lungs to look for tumours or blockages.

Treatment of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

The treatment plan for NSCLC depends on the stage and location of the cancer, as well as the patient’s overall health. Here are the primary treatment options.

➦ Surgery

Surgery is often used if the cancer is localized and hasn’t spread. Types of surgeries include:

  • Lobectomy: Removing a section of the lung.
  • Pneumonectomy: Removing an entire lung.
  • Segmentectomy or Wedge Resection: Removing a small part of the lung.

➦ Radiation Therapy

High-energy rays are used to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy can be applied either on its own or in combination with other therapies.

➦ Chemotherapy

Medications are used to either destroy or prevent the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be given before surgery (neoadjuvant) to shrink tumours or after surgery (adjuvant) to eliminate any remaining cancer cells.

➦ Targeted Therapy

These drugs target specific abnormalities in cancer cells. Targeted therapies are often used in advanced stages of NSCLC.

➦ Immunotherapy

This therapy aids in the immune system’s ability to identify and combat cancerous cells. In the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer, it has demonstrated encouraging outcomes.

Dr. Gopal Sharma’s Expertise

Dr. Gopal Sharma is a renowned oncologist with 23 years of experience in cancer treatment. He specializes in the treatment of various types of cancers, including lung cancer. Dr. Sharma’s expertise in haemato-medical oncology, particularly in treating breast, thoracic, and gynecological cancers, has made him a trusted name in oncology.

Prevention and Early Detection

While it is not always possible to prevent NSCLC, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk.

➦ Quit Smoking

The best thing you can do for your lungs and general health if you smoke is to give it up.

➦ Avoid Secondhand Smoke

Try to avoid places where people are smoking and ask family members to smoke outside.

➦ Test for Radon

Testing your home for radon and reducing levels if necessary can decrease your risk.

➦ Use Protective Gear

If you work in an industry with exposure to harmful substances, use protective gear and follow safety protocols.

➦ Regular Check-Ups

Regular medical check-ups can help in early detection of lung cancer and other health issues.

Do you know the signs, and symptoms of Head and Neck cancer

In the Summary

Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatments of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer is crucial for early detection and effective management. With experts like Dr. Gopal Sharma, patients can receive the best care and guidance in their journey against cancer. Stay informed, take preventive measures, and seek medical advice if you experience any symptoms. A major impact on results can be achieved with early intervention.

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