Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer (cont.)
Lung cancer remains a highly preventable disease because 85% of lung cancers occur in people who smoke or used to smoke. The best way to prevent lung cancer is not to smoke.
- Cigarette smoking is highly addictive, and quitting often proves to be difficult. However, smoking rates have decreased recently in North America and in other parts of the world.
- People who smoke who use a combination of supplemental nicotine, group therapy, and behavioral training show a significant drop in smoking rates.
- People who smoke who use a sustained-release form of the antidepressant bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban) have a much higher quitting rate than average and a higher abstinence rate after 1 year.
Screening for lung cancer
- The American Cancer Society does not currently recommend routine chest X-ray screening for lung cancer. This means that many health insurance plans do not cover screening chest X-ray films.
- Low-dose CT scans of the chest annually in those age 55 to 74 who have
been smokers or continue to smoke - especially more than one pack a day for
more than 30 years, or the equivalent, and have no history of lung cancer
now appear to increase the detection of early-stage lun cancers in those
screened. The testing is relatively expensive and debate continues on this
- People who smoke or used to smoke may want to have a periodic chest X-ray film anyway. They should discuss this with their health care providers.
Overall, 14% of people with NSCLC survive for at least 5 years.
- People who have stage I NSCLC and undergo surgery have a 70% chance of surviving 5 years.
- People with extensive nonoperable NSCLC have an average survival duration of 9 months.
How well the person with NSCLC functions can have a strong effect on the survival duration. A person with small-cell lung cancer who functions well has an advantage over someone who cannot work or pursue normal activities.
Complications of NSCLC
- Spinal cord compression
- Bone pain
- Hormone or electrolyte imbalances
- Problems with mental functioning or concentration
- Visual problems
- Liver failure
- Pain in right side from enlarged liver
- Weight loss
- Severe hemoptysis
Complications of chemotherapy
- Unexplained fever (due to neutropenia or infection)
- Bleeding (due to low platelet count)
- Electrolyte imbalances
- Kidney failure
- Peripheral neuropathy (tingling, numbness, pain in extremities)
- Hearing problems
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/11/2014
Koyamangalath Krishnan, MD, FRCP
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