Common symptoms of Lung Cancer include: chronic cough, worsening breathlessness, weight loss, constant chest pain, and coughing up blood. Coughing up blood can be an early symptom. at this point the patient may still be curable. Smokers over the age of 40 should see a doctor immediately if blood is present when coughing.
Most people ignore the symptoms of lung cancer and are diagnosed to late. Over 50% of patients have progressed too far for treatment. Another lung disease that has similar symptoms is COPD chronic obstructive pulmonary disease also known as Smoker's Lung. Diagnosis of lung cancer can sometimes be missed because of the similarities of both diseases. Of patients that have COPD only one to two percent will develop cancer.
An x-ray showing a tumor is needed to positively diagnose Lung Cancer, unfortunately by the time a tumor is large enough to be seen on an x-ray it is usually too late. Biopsy is performed using a needle to obtain a sample for lab testing.
Small cell carcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma and Adenocarcinoma are the three most common forms of lung cancer. It is very important for the correct diagnosis to be made early. The treatment of each type is different.
Small cell lung cancer is treated with chemotherapy. You must see an Oncologist for this treatment. Non-small cell cancer may be treated with radiotherapy. In about 20% of patients surgery may be the only course of action. Surgery will only be performed if there is a chance to fully remove the tumor.
With the advances in medicine that we are achieving everyday, Lung Cancer does not have a tragic end. About 10% of patients are cured of Lung Cancer the best way to increase the odds is through early detection.