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Lung Cancer

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Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the lungs or airways, most commonly in the lining of the airways. While there are a few types of lung cancer, the most common form is classified as non-small cell lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer is the second most common lung cancer diagnosis, but is relatively uncommon occurring in 1 or 2 in 10 cases of lung cancer. Regardless of type, lung cancer is the third most common form of cancer in America, behind skin cancer and prostate cancer or breast cancer for men and women respectively. In 2012 lung cancer was the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the world, this is typically attributed to lung cancer’s quick ability to spread through the blood vessels and the lymph nodes. When lung cancer spreads and forms tumors on new organs this is referred to as metastatic lung cancer. The thoracic surgeons at Cardiac Surgery Associates of Tampa can help residents of Tampa and surrounding areas with the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.

Symptoms

Lung cancer can be asymptomatic until the disease has progressed to advanced stages. Symptoms can include:

  • Changes in fingernail shape, known as clubbing
  • Coughing, dry cough or a cough producing blood
  • Difficulty breathing deeply
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight loss
  • Wheezing

Causes

Lung cancer is predominantly seen in tobacco smokers, however smokers do not exclusively contract the disease. Other risk factors that could lead to lung cancer can include exposure to and inhalation of the following substances:

  • Asbestos
  • Air pollution
  • Industrial substances, including but not limited to arsenic, coal products, gasoline and diesel exhaust
  • Radon gas
  • Second-hand smoke
  • Silica dust

Genetics and preexisting conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis and scleroderma can also contribute to the development of lung cancer.

Treatment Options

Treatment options vary for each patient, the stage of the disease and the patient’s ability to undergo care. Treatment typically begins with diagnostic tests to confirm the presence, prevalence and stage of lung cancer. Surgical treatment of lung cancer can be an effective way to treat cancer that is caught in earlier stages. The thoracic surgeons at Cardiac Surgery Associates of Tampa can explain the surgical options available for each case and their benefits. Minimally invasive treatment is available and our doctors have access to the most innovative tools available to excise tumors.

Prevention

While some people who have never smoked may develop lung cancer, up to 90% of all lung cancer cases are attributed to smoking or second-hand smoke. If you smoke or are exposed to cigarette, cigar or other tobacco smoke, stop smoking. After just 3 months of not smoking lung function increases dramatically and after 10 years of not smoking the risk of dying from lung cancer is reduced by half. There are several free programs available if you need help quitting smoking. Please see our patient resources if you are in need of smoking cessation assistance.

If you are in need of a skilled thoracic surgeon to help you with lung cancer treatment, please contact our offices online or by phone at 813.910.0027.