- Stage 1 Lung Cancer Symptoms
- Causes & Risk Factors
- Lung Cancer Treatment
When cells in the lung become abnormal and grow out of control, this can cause lung cancer to occur.
There are different types of lung cancer, which include:
- Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
- The most common type of lung cancer, making up 80% to 85% of cases
- Small cell lung cancer (also called oat cell cancer), accounts for 10% to 15% of cases
- More aggressive than NSCLC
- Other types of tumors that can form in the lungs include:
- Lung carcinoid tumors, which make up fewer than 5% of lung tumors
Other lung tumors include:
- adenoid cystic carcinomas,
- lymphomas, and sarcomas, and
- benign lung tumors such as hamartomas are rare
Lung Cancer Life Expectancy
Life expectancy for lung cancer is often expressed in 5-year survival rates, that is, how many people will be alive 5 years after diagnosis.
Stage 1 lung cancer is considered localized, as it has not spread outside the lung.
- The 5-year survival rate for localized stage 1 non-small cell lung cancer is 61%.
- The 5-year survival rate for localized stage 1 small cell lung cancer is 27%.
What Are Symptoms of Stage 1 Lung Cancer?
Lung cancer may not have symptoms in the early stages. When the signs and symptoms occur, they may include:
- Persistent or worsening cough
- Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum
- Breathing problems
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain that may be worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that don’t go away or recur
What Causes Lung Cancer?
The main cause of all types of lung cancer is smoking, which is responsible for 80% of all lung cancer deaths, and many deaths from exposure to secondhand smoke. Smokers exposed to radon and asbestos are at higher risk.
In non-smokers, lung cancer is caused by:
- Secondhand smoke
- Air pollution
- Workplace exposure to asbestos, diesel exhaust, or other chemicals
- Exposure to radon
- Genetic changes
How is Stage 1 Lung Cancer Diagnosed?
Symptoms of lung cancer often do not appear until the cancer is advanced. About 40% of people are not diagnosed until the lung cancer has reached stage 3 or 4, which are considered advanced stages.
The American Cancer Society has lung cancer screening guidelines for people with a higher risk of getting lung cancer, such as smokers.
The American Cancer Society recommends people who are 55 to 74 years old, are in fairly good health, are current smokers or who have quit in the past 15 years, and have smoked a certain number of cigarettes per day should receive regular lung cancer screenings. A test called a low-dose CAT scan or CT scan (LDCT) is typically used.
If lung cancer is suspected, imaging tests may be used to confirm a diagnosis, such as:
- Chest X-ray
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Computed tomography (CT) scan
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
- Bone scan
Lab tests used to diagnose lung cancer include:
- Sputum cytology
- Bronchoscopy masses
- Tissue biopsy
- Endoscopic esophageal ultrasound
- Endobronchial ultrasound
- Mediastinoscopy and mediastinotomy
- Lung function tests
- Molecular tests for gene changes
- Tests for certain proteins on tumor cells
- Blood tests
How Is Lung Cancer Usually Treated (By Stage)?
Treatment for lung cancer depends on the stage, and may include:
- Removal of the tumor (stage 0)
- Removal of the lobe of the lung that has the tumor (lobectomy) or removal of a smaller piece of the lung (sleeve resection, segmentectomy, or wedge resection) (Stage 1)
- Lobectomy or sleeve resection or removal of the entire lung (pneumonectomy) (Stage 2 and later stages)
- Photodynamic therapy (PDT)
- Laser therapy
- Adjuvant chemotherapy
- Radiation therapy
- Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
- Lymph node removal
- Targeted therapy
- Participation in clinical trials
Stage IV lung cancers are widespread and very hard to treat and cure. Any of the above treatments may be used to help patients live longer, but they are unlikely to cure the disease at this stage.
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