People often decide to visit the doctor only after they have been bothered by certain complaints over a period of time. Individuals who have lung cancer frequently experience symptoms such as:
If there is no evidence of metastasis, the patient may then undergo mediastinoscopy, a surgical inspection of the mediastinum (the tissues and organs of the middle chest, e.g., the heart and large vessels, windpipe, etc.). A small flexible device with a camera, called an endoscope, is inserted into the chest via an incision at the top of the sternum (breastbone), and the chest cavity is then examined.
The mediastinal lymph nodes usually are removed during this procedure. If the mediastinal lymph nodes are "negative" (do not contain any cancer cells), the patient may be a candidate for surgery. However, if mediastinal lymph nodes are "positive" (contain cancer cells) or are abnormally large on imaging studies (suggesting tumor involvement), the patient is not considered to be a surgical candidate.
Additional blood tests may be performed to look for lung cancer "markers" - that is, elements in the blood that are associated with the presence of lung cancer. For example, lung cancer may be indicated by abnormalities in the following.
Exposure to asbestos fibers causes mesothelioma cancer. Mesothelioma can result from very small fibers or dust particles at low exposure levels. Most such exposure would likely have occurred prior to 1973, but the latency period can be up to 40 years for most lung cancer to develop.
Many people have come into contact with asbestos fibers via their jobs, or occupational exposure. There is also a risk to the family members of those working in at-risk occupations; this exposure is called paraoccupational exposure. Likewise, people who live near sites likely to have asbestos around the facility are also at risk: refineries, power plants, factories, shipyards, steel mills and building demolition are types of work sites that can release asbestos fibers into the environment and contaminate nearby residential neighborhoods.
The risk of developing lung cancer is 8-20 times greater in smokers compared to people who have never smoked. A smaller, but real risk exists for cigar and pipe smokers. Some cancer causing agents react together to significantly worsen the risk of developing cancer. The combined exposure to asbestos and tobacco smoke clearly multiplies the risk of developing lung cancer. The risk of lung cancer is greater for those living in urban areas. This risk is approximately 1.2 to 2.3 times that of people living in rural areas. There is also an increased risk of lung cancer in smokers whose close relatives have had lung cancer. Scarring in the lungs from previous infections or injury can be associated with and increased risk of cancer.
Click on the Link below for a Power Point Program for information on the different types of Lung Cancer. Once Power Point program loads just click on the slide screen to go to the next pages. If you need the Power Point Viewer the link to install to your PC is also below.
Information provided by the American Cancer Society and other cancer related agencies.