What You Need to Know About Lung Cancer
Although Lung Cancer Awareness Month has come to a close, the importance of recognizing, diagnosing and treating lung cancer remains a top priority. For those with lung health concerns, countless questions come to mind.
Luckily, the multidisciplinary Lung Nodule Center at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – Washington Township has the answers.
On Friday, November 30, Dr. Jay Steinberg, Medical Director of Thoracic Surgery, and Dr. Duane Monteith, Medical Director of Thoracic Oncology shared the following:
- What is a lung nodule?
A lung nodule is a smaller than a mass lesion in a lung that can signify anything infectious, inflammatory, cancerous or benign.
- How do you get lung cancer?
The leading risk factor for lung cancer is related to smoking; this includes secondhand smoke inhalation. The second most common cause is radon exposure. Other causes include occupational exposure (exposure to hazardous chemicals, such as asbestos and other carcinogens), previous radiation therapy and a family history of lung cancer.
- How much smoking puts you at risk for lung cancer?
The Lung Nodule Center recognizes individuals between the ages of 55 and 77, who have a tobacco-smoking history of at least 30 pack-years (the equivalent to a pack of cigarettes per day for 30 years or about two packs per day for 15 years), as high-risk patients. High-risk patients also include those who are currently smoking or have quit less than 15 years ago.
- What are lung cancer symptoms?
Some common symptoms of lung cancer include a chronic and worsening cough, hoarseness, frequent chest pain, coughing up blood, weight loss, loss of appetite, headaches and bone pain/fractures.
- How serious is lung cancer?
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among men and women in the U.S., projected to kill an estimated 154,000 people this year alone. The mortality rate is higher than breast, colon, pancreatic and prostate cancer combined.
- What are the treatment options?
The three main ways to treat lung cancer are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, or a combination of both.
The good news: Lung cancer screening is now saving lives, helping more and more physicians find lung cancer early. In comparison to chest X-rays, CT scans are 3 times as effective at detecting lung nodules and 6 times as effective at detecting lung tumors, lessening the chances of dying from lung cancer by 20 percent.
The specialists at the Lung Nodule Center are skilled in diagnosing and treating lung cancer as well as assisting in the shared decision-making process with the patient.