Lung Cancer Treatment in Baltimore, MD
Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world, and is the second most common cause of cancer seen in both men and women in the United States.
The lungs act as sponges that work to absorb and filter out any potentially harmful substances while also supplying the body with much needed oxygen for numerous vital functions. As the lungs are exposed to more and more harmful substances, particles, and chemicals, their health becomes continually compromised, which can lead to severe conditions like lung cancer.
The Three Most Common Types of Lung Cancer
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is by far the most common kind diagnosed with about 85% of all lung cancer cases belonging to this category. Some examples of non-small cell lung cancer include squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is a more aggressive type of lung cancer that appears as small and oval-shaped mass. Also called oat cell cancer, this type accounts for roughly 10-15% of lung cancers.
Lung carcinoid tumors are responsible for about 5% of all lung cancer cases. These tumors are typically characterized by very slow growth, and rarely spread. Lung carcinoid tumors may also be referred to as lung neuroendocrine tumors.
There are also instances of extremely rare forms of lung cancer, as well as cancer that originated elsewhere in the body and eventually metastasized (spread) to reach the lungs.
Risk Factors of Lung Cancer
Any person can encounter abnormal cell growth within the lung tissue that has the potential to become cancerous. The following factors do not guarantee a person with these habits will develop lung cancer, though they are known to significantly increase their risk:
- Regular inhalation of secondhand smoke
- Being frequently exposed to toxic chemicals or pollution
- Exposure to radon gas
- Exposure to asbestos
- Being infected with HPV
- Having a family history of lung cancer
- Age (the average age of diagnosis is around 70 years old)
Signs and Symptoms
If you experience any or all of the symptoms listed below, please contact PCCAB immediately at (410) 832-3400 for an appointment, as they are often signs of lung cancer or another serious respiratory condition:
- Chest pain
- Chronic coughing, trouble breathing, wheezing, and/or hoarseness
- Presence of blood in the person’s spit or phlegm
- Sudden weight loss or loss of appetite
- Recurring respiratory infections
- Trouble swallowing
- Swelling in the face or neck
Staging and Treatment for Lung Cancer
Before a course of treatment can be recommended by a pulmonary specialist in Baltimore, the patient must first undergo diagnostic testing to determine how far their lung cancer has progressed. This process is called staging, and the later the stage the patient is involved in, the tougher their treatment and recovery is likely to be.
Another key component to deciding on the best treatment option for a particular patient is to review the specific type of lung cancer that they were diagnosed with. Not all types are treated in the same way, though chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, and surgery are among the most common solutions used by the specialists at PCCAB.
What You Can Do to Prevent Lung Cancer
The best thing you can do is to quit smoking or to remove yourself from a smoke-filled environment. Smoking and secondhand smoke are the biggest factors that influence a person’s chances of developing lung cancer. Even if you have been smoking for years, quitting can greatly reduce your likelihood of getting cancer.
Regular visits with a pulmonologist in Baltimore, MD can also help to prevent lung cancer as well as many other health issues. Routine screenings of the lungs and other vital organs of the body during these appointments can allow for earlier detection and intervention. This is especially important for those who are aware that they are at an increased risk of lung cancer.