July 18, 2018

 

Immunotherapy for Lung Cancer-Hope Medical Group

Lung Cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the lungs. Your lungs are two spongy organs in your chest that take in oxygen when you inhale and release carbon dioxide when you exhale.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, among both men and women. Lung cancer claims more lives each year than do colon, prostate, ovarian and breast cancers combined.

People who smoke have the greatest risk of lung cancer. The risk of lung cancer increases with the length of time and number of cigarettes you've smoked. If you quit smoking, even after smoking for many years, you can significantly reduce your chances of developing lung cancer.

Symptoms

Lung cancer typically doesn't cause signs and symptoms in its earliest stages. Signs and symptoms of lung cancer typically occur only when the disease is advanced.

 

Signs and symptoms of lung cancer may include:

 

A new cough that doesn't go away

 

Changes in a chronic cough or "smoker's cough"

Coughing up blood, even a small amount

Shortness of breath

Chest pain

Wheezing

Hoarseness

Losing weight without trying

Bone pain

Headache

Causes

Smoking causes the majority of lung cancers — both in smokers and in people exposed to secondhand smoke. But lung cancer also occurs in people who never smoked and in those who never had prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke. In these cases, there may be no clear cause of lung cancer.

How smoking causes lung cancer
Doctors believe smoking causes lung cancer by damaging the cells that line the lungs. When you inhale cigarette smoke, which is full of cancer-causing substances (carcinogens), changes in the lung tissue begin almost immediately. At first your body may be able to repair this damage. But with each repeated exposure, normal cells that line your lungs are increasingly damaged. Over time, the damage causes cells to act abnormally and eventually cancer may develop.

Types of lung cancer
Doctors divide lung cancer into two major types based on the appearance of lung cancer cells under the microscope. Your doctor makes treatment decisions based on which major type of lung cancer you have. The two general types of lung cancer include:

Small cell lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer occurs almost exclusively in heavy smokers and is less common than non-small cell lung cancer.

Non-small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer is an umbrella term for several types of lung cancers that behave in a similar way. Non-small cell lung cancers include squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and large cell carcinoma.

Risk factors

A number of factors may increase your risk of lung cancer. Some risk factors can be controlled, for instance, by quitting smoking. And other factors can't be controlled, such as your family history. Risk factors for lung cancer include:

 

Smoking. Smoking remains the greatest risk factor for lung cancer. Your risk of lung cancer increases with the number of cigarettes you smoke each day and the number of years you have smoked. Quitting at any age can significantly lower your risk of developing lung cancer.


Exposure to secondhand smoke. Even if you don't smoke, your risk of lung cancer increases if you're exposed to secondhand smoke.

Exposure to radon gas. Radon is produced by the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water that eventually becomes part of the air you breathe. Unsafe levels of radon can accumulate in any building, including homes. Radon testing kits, which can be purchased at home improvement stores, can determine whether levels are safe. If unsafe levels are discovered, remedies are available.

Exposure to asbestos and other chemicals. Workplace exposure to asbestos and other substances known to cause cancer — such as arsenic, chromium and nickel — also can increase your risk of developing lung cancer, especially if you're a smoker.

 

Family history of lung cancer. People with a parent, sibling or child with lung cancer have an increased risk of the disease.


Excessive alcohol use.
Drinking more than a moderate amount of alcohol — no more than one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men — may increase your risk of lung cancer.

 
Certain smoking-related lung diseases. Smokers with certain lung diseases, such as emphysema, may have an increased risk of lung cancer.

Complications

Lung cancer can cause complications, such as:

 

Shortness of breath. People with lung cancer can experience shortness of breath if cancer grows to block the major airways. Lung cancer can also cause fluid to accumulate around the lungs, making it harder for the affected lung to expand fully when you inhale.


Coughing up blood. Lung cancer can cause bleeding in the airway, which can cause you to cough up blood (hemoptysis). Sometimes bleeding can become severe. Treatments are available to control bleeding.


Pain.
Advanced lung cancer that spreads to the lining of a lung or to another area of the body, such as a bone, can cause pain. Tell your doctor if you experience pain. Pain may initially be mild and intermittent, but can become constant. Medications, radiation therapy and other treatments may help make you more comfortable.


Fluid in the chest (pleural effusion).
Lung cancer can cause fluid to accumulate in the space that surrounds the affected lung in the chest cavity (pleural space). Pleural effusion can result from cancer spreading outside the lungs or in reaction to lung cancer inside the lungs. Fluid accumulating in the chest can cause shortness of breath. Treatments are available to drain the fluid from your chest and reduce the risk that pleural effusion will occur again.


Cancer that spreads to other parts of the body (metastasis).
Lung cancer often spreads (metastasizes) to other parts of the body — most commonly the brain, bones, liver and adrenal glands. Cancer that spreads can cause pain, nausea, headaches, or other signs and symptoms depending on what organ is affected. In some cases, treatments are available for isolated metastasis, but in most cases, the goal of treatment for metastasis is only to relieve signs and symptoms.

Death. Unfortunately, survival rates for people diagnosed with lung cancer are very low. In most cases, the disease is fatal. People diagnosed at the earliest stages have the greatest chances for a cure. Your doctor can discuss your chances for survival with you.

Treatment

 

Cancer is a class of diseases characterized by out-of-control cell growth. There are over 100 different types of cancer, and each is classified by the type of cell that is initially affected.

 

Cancer harms the body when damaged cells divide uncontrollably to form lumps or masses of tissue called tumors (except in the case of leukemia where cancer prohibits normal blood function by abnormal cell division in the blood stream). Tumors can grow and interfere with the digestive, nervous, and circulatory systems, and they can release hormones that alter body function. Tumors that stay in one spot and demonstrate limited growth are generally considered to be benign.

More dangerous, or malignant, tumors form when two things occur:

a cancerous cell manages to move throughout the body using the blood or lymph systems, destroying healthy tissue in a process called invasion

that cell manages to divide and grow, making new blood vessels to feed itself in a process called angiogenesis.

When a tumor successfully spreads to other parts of the body and grows, invading and destroying other healthy tissues, it is said to have metastasized. This process itself is called metastasis, and the result is a serious condition that is very difficult to treat.

Cancer is ultimately the result of cells that uncontrollably grow and do not die. Normal cells in the body follow an orderly path of growth, division, and death. Programmed cell death is called apoptosis, and when this process breaks down, cancer begins to form. Unlike regular cells, cancer cells do not experience programmatic death and instead continue to grow and divide. This leads to a mass of abnormal cells that grows out of control.

Cancer symptoms are quite varied and depend on where the cancer is located, where it has spread, and how big the tumor is. Some cancers can be felt or seen through the skin - a lump on the breast or testicle can be an indicator of cancer in those locations. Skin cancer (melanoma) is often noted by a change in a wart or mole on the skin. Some oral cancers present white patches inside the mouth or white spots on the tongue.

Other cancers have symptoms that are less physically apparent. Some brain tumors tend to present symptoms early in the disease as they affect important cognitive functions. Pancreas cancers are usually too small to cause symptoms until they cause pain by pushing against nearby nerves or interfere with liver function to cause a yellowing of the skin and eyes called jaundice. Symptoms also can be created as a tumor grows and pushes against organs and blood vessels. For example, colon cancers lead to symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, and changes in stool size. Bladder or prostate cancers cause changes in bladder function such as more frequent or infrequent urination.

As cancer cells use the body's energy and interfere with normal hormone function, it is possible to present symptoms such as fever, fatigue, excessive sweating, anemia, and unexplained weight loss. However, these symptoms are common in several other maladies as well. For example, coughing and hoarseness can point to lung or throat cancer as well as several other conditions.

When cancer spreads, or metastasizes, additional symptoms can present themselves in the newly affected area. Swollen or enlarged lymph nodes are common and likely to be present early. If cancer spreads to the brain, patients may experience vertigo, headaches, or seizures. Spreading to the lungs may cause coughing and shortness of breath. In addition, the liver may become enlarged and cause jaundice and bones can become painful, brittle, and break easily. Symptoms of metastasis ultimately depend on the location to which the cancer has spread.

There are five broad groups that are used to classify cancer.

Carcinomas are characterized by cells that cover internal and external parts of the body such as lung, breast, and colon cancer.

Sarcomas are characterized by cells that are located in bone, cartilage, fat, connective tissue, muscle, and other supportive tissues.

Lymphomas are cancers that begin in the lymph nodes and immune system tissues.

Leukemias are cancers that begin in the bone marrow and often accumulate in the bloodstream.

Adenomas are cancers that arise in the thyroid, the pituitary gland, the adrenal gland, and other glandular tissues.

Cancers are often referred to by terms that contain a prefix related to the cell type in which the cancer originated and a suffix such as -sarcoma, -carcinoma, or just -oma. Common prefixes include:

Adeno- = gland

Chondro- = cartilage

Erythro- = red blood cell

Hemangio- = blood vessels

Hepato- = liver

Lipo- = fat

Lympho- = white blood cell

Melano- = pigment cell

Myelo- = bone marrow

Myo- = muscle

Osteo- = bone

Uro- = bladder

Retino- = eye

Neuro- = brain

Early detection of cancer can greatly improve the odds of successful treatment and survival. Physicians use information from symptoms and several other procedures to diagnose cancer. Imaging techniques such as X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, PET scans, and ultrasound scans are used regularly in order to detect where a tumor is located and what organs may be affected by it. Doctors may also conduct an endoscopy, which is a procedure that uses a thin tube with a camera and light at one end, to look for abnormalities inside the body.

 

Extracting cancer cells and looking at them under a microscope is the only absolute way to diagnose cancer. This procedure is called a biopsy. Other types of molecular diagnostic tests are frequently employed as well. Physicians will analyze your body's sugars, fats, proteins, and DNA at the molecular level. For example, cancerous prostate cells release a higher level of a chemical called PSA (prostate-specific antigen) into the bloodstream that can be detected by a blood test. Molecular diagnostics, biopsies, and imaging techniques are all used together to diagnose cancer.

 For more information on stem cell immunotherapy for lung cancer, please complete a medical form here or visit http://hopestemcell.com/cancer-immunology

 

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