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Overview

Lung cancer, also known as lung carcinoma, is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both lungs. It most often occurs in people who smoke. As lung cancer grows, abnormal cells can form tumours and interfere with the functioning of the lung, which provides oxygen to the body via blood.

Warning signs

Lung cancer is generally diagnosed on a chest X-ray, which is done for other reasons or as part of a health check-up. The associated symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Blood in sputum (spit or phlegm)
  • Shortness of breath—either on exertion or at rest
  • Chest pain
  • Change in voice

Risk factors

  • Tobacco smoking (causes 60-65 per cent of lung cancers)
  • Exposure to second-hand or passive smoking
  • Exposure to radon gas, asbestos and other carcinogens
  • Family history of lung cancer

Progression

  • Stage I: Cancer is confined to lung
  • Stage II/III: Cancer is confined to chest
  • Stage IV: Cancer spreads to other organs (lymph nodes, brain, liver, adrenal glands)

Diagnosis

Over 80 per cent of lung cancers have a chance to be cured if detected early. Lung cancer is diagnosed in the following ways:

Primary diagnosis

Chest X-ray or a CT scan

Secondary diagnosis

Bronchoscopy, EBUS (Endobronchial Ultrasound) or CT-guided biopsy for obtaining tissue from the tumour

Advanced diagnosis

PET CT whole body, MRI, Mediastinoscopy and other surgical procedures

Treatment in a nutshell

Stage I/II

Surgery can be considered

Stage III

Combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be required

Stage IV

Chemotherapy, oral targeted therapy, immunotherapy and radiation therapy are treatment options

Kokilaben Hospital uses state-of-the-art technology such as:

  • Video Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery for lung resection aiding early recovery
  • Robot-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery for early cancer
  • Lung Sparing surgery (including Sleeve Lobectomy)
  • Mediastonscopy for staging
  • Endobronchial Ultrasonography (EBUS)
  • Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)

Milestones

50 per cent of surgeries for lung cancer at Kokilaben Hospital are done using Video Assisted Thorocoscopic Surgery (VATS). VATS is a keyhole surgery that reduces postoperative pain, aids in early recovery, avoids prominent scars and reduces length of hospital stay.

Top tips

  • Don't smoke: Smoking goes hand in hand with lung cancer.
  • Avoid second-hand smoke: Avoid smoke from other people's cigarettes as well. Make your home and car smoke-free.
  • Diet: Research suggests that eating a low-fat, high-fibre diet, including at least five portions a day of fresh fruit and vegetables and plenty of whole grains, can reduce your risk of lung cancer, as well as
    • Don't smoke: Smoking goes hand in hand with lung cancer.
    • Avoid second-hand smoke: Avoid smoke from other people's cigarettes as well. Make your home and car smoke-free.
    • Diet: Research suggests that eating a low-fat, high-fibre diet, including at least five portions a day of fresh fruit and vegetables and plenty of whole grains, can reduce your risk of lung cancer, as well as other types of cancer and heart disease.
    • Exercise: Adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week.
    • Safety from radon gas: Unsafe levels of radon can accumulate in any building, including homes. Get your home tested for radon.
    • Be careful at work. Health and safety guidelines in the workplace can help workers avoid carcinogens—things that can cause cancer.
    • Laugh a lot: Laughing clears the lungs.

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