A malignant tumor arising from the cells of the respiratory epithelium.
Lung cancer treatment is a complex and evolving subject. New advances are constantly being developed. The side effects of therapy can be minimized with the proper attention to detail.
Dr. Navneet Sharda of Cancer Care Las Vegas provides this information as an educational source. It is not intended as a substitute for a consultation with a qualified healthcare provider.
Lung cancers are generally divided into two types: Small Cell Lung Cancer and NonSmall Cell Lung Cancer. Sometimes the Pathologist is unable to decide and determines that the cancer is a combination of both the small cell and non small cell variety of lung cancer.
- Nonsmall cell lung cancer is more common than small cell lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer, sometimes called oat cell cancer because the cancer cells may look like oats when viewed under a microscope, grows rapidly and quickly spreads to other organs.
- The three main kinds of non small cell lung cancer are named for the type of cells in the tumor:
Lung Cancer Diagnosis
Navneet Sharda, M.D a Las Vegas oncologist discusses procedures used to diagnose lung cancer may include:
- chest x-ray-to look for any mass or spot on the lungs.
- computed tomography scan (Also called a CT or CAT scan.)-a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general x-rays.
- sputum cytology-a study of phlegm (mucus) cells under a microscope.
- needle biopsy-a needle is guided into the mass while the lungs are being viewed on a CT scan and a sample of the mass is removed and evaluated in the pathology laboratory under a microscope.
- bronchoscopy-the examination of the bronchi (the main airways of the lungs) using a flexible tube (bronchoscope). Bronchoscopy helps to evaluate and diagnose lung problems, assess blockages, obtain samples of tissue and/or fluid, and/or to help remove a foreign body.
- mediastinoscopy-a process in which a small cut is made in the neck so that a tissue sample can be taken from the lymph nodes (mediastinal nodes) along the windpipe and the major bronchial tube areas to evaluate under a microscope.
- x-rays and scans of the brain, liver, bone, and adrenal glands-to determine if the cancer has spread from where it started into other areas of the body.
Low Dose CT SCAN for Lung Cancer Screening
Dr. Sharda shows off his new CT scanner.
Patients who are at high risk for lung cancer have been approved for low dose CT scanning as screening for lung cancer. There have been several large studies which demonstrated that CT scans done every 6 months for those at highest risk result in earlier diagnosis and better treatment results. The USPSTF (Medical body which makes the guidelines for medicare to follow) has recommended this test. Dr. Navneet Sharda and Cancer Care Las Vegas have offered this examination to the patients of Las Vegas and Henderson for almost 20 years with many success stories. The CT scan is easy, quick, without any IV or oral contrast, no preparation the night before, and has very low radiation dose. The Cancer Care Centers are Joint Commission Accredited for CT scanning, the only outpatient oncology facility in Las Vegas or Henderson to hold this Joint Commission “Gold Seal” of approval.
Lung Cancer Symptoms and Signs
Dr. Nav Sharda– “Lung cancer often does not have any symptoms as there are no nerve endings within the lungs. Sometimes you may have symptoms such as a cough or shortness of breath that you might think are related to a respiratory illness.”
Lung cancer symptoms or signs may include:
- A new cough or a cough that does not go away. Smokers who have a chronic cough from smoking may have a change in how severe their cough is or how much they cough.
- Chest, shoulder, or back pain that does not go away and often gets worse with deep breathing.
- Shortness of breath.
- Coughing up blood or bloody mucus.
- Swelling in the neck and face.
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Weight loss and loss of appetite.
- Increasing fatigue and weakness.
- Recurring respiratory infections, such as pneumonia.
- Clubbing of the fingers and toes. The nails appear to bulge out more than normal.
Lung cancer treatment:
Lung cancer may be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, laser therapy, naturopathy or a combination of treatments:
- Surgery- Three main types of surgery are most often used in lung cancer treatment. The choice depends on the size and location of the tumor in the lung, the extent of the cancer, the general health of the patient, and other factors.
- segmental or wedge resection – removal of only a small part of the lung.
- lobectomy – removal of an entire lobe of the lung.
- pneumonectomy – removal of an entire lung.
- Radiation therapy- Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells and to shrink tumors. Radiation may also be used with chemotherapy to treat lung cancer. There are two ways to deliver radiation therapy, including the following:
- external radiation (external beam therapy) – a treatment that precisely sends high levels of radiation directly to the cancer cells. The machine is controlled by the radiation therapist. Since radiation is used to kill cancer cells and to shrink tumors, special shields may be used to protect the tissue surrounding the treatment area. Radiation treatments are painless and usually last a few minutes.
- internal radiation (brachytherapy, implant radiation) – radiation is given inside the body as close to the cancer as possible. Substances that produce radiation, called radioisotopes, may be swallowed, injected, or implanted directly into the tumor. Some of the radioactive implants are called “seeds” or “capsules”. Internal radiation involves giving a higher dose of radiation in a shorter time span than with external radiation. Some internal radiation treatments stay in the body temporarily. Other internal treatments stay in the body permanently, though the radioactive substance loses its radiation within a short period of time. In some cases, both internal and external radiation therapies are used.
- Stereotactic Radiation Therapy is a specialized form of directed radiation which is highly focused on the tumor while limiting the treatment of surrounding normal tissue. It has been highly successful in treatment of early lung cancers in medically inoperable patients.
- Photodynamic therapy (PDT) remains experimental. This is a type of laser treatment that involves injecting photosensitizing chemicals into the bloodstream. Cells throughout the body absorb the chemicals.At the right time, when the healthy cells surrounding the tumor may already be relatively free of the chemical, the light of a laser can be focused directly on the tumor. As the cells absorb the light, a chemical reaction destroys the cancer cells .
- Chemotherapy: The use of anticancer drugs to treat cancerous cells. In most cases, chemotherapy works by interfering with the cancer cell’s ability to grow or reproduce
- Targeted therapy: As lung cancers grow, they form new blood vessels which nourish them. Research aimed at blocking the growth of these blood vessels has led to the development of medications called antiangiogenesis inhibitor medications.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Navneet Sharda call 702-547-2273.
Oncologist Dr. Navneet Sharda is the medical director of Cancer Care Center. For almost 20 years Cancer Care Center has been specializing in treatment of various types of cancers like lung cancer, meningioma, tonsil tumors, tongue, laryngeal, parotid, neck, breast, lymphoma, hodgkins lymphoma, skin cancer, melanoma, esophageal cancer, gastric, pancreatic, colon, renal, kidney, ovarian, sarcoma, uterine cancer, cervical cancer, vaginal, brain, breast, vulvar cancer, bone metastasis, bone, osteosarcoma, endometrial cancercarcinoma, tumor, malignant and cancerous Cancers. We offer therapy like chemotherapy, radiotherapy, radiation therapy, radiation oncology, oncology, immunotherapy, brachy therapy, stereotactic radio surgery, IMRT, intensity modulated radiation therapy, conformal therapy.