Lung cancers

Background 

Lung cancers are one of the most common cancers affecting the male population and ranks most common cancer in Asian and Central European countries. Smoking remains to the major causative factor for lung cancers which is believe to damage the inner lining of the lungs by the carcinogens produced in smoke. The risk of lung cancer increase in smokers as compared to non- smokers. Lung cancers also remain the major cause of death among all the cancers. 

Common cause of lung cancers 

  1. Smoking which also directly relates to number of pack of cigarettes snakes  through years.
  2. Passive smoking which is equally harmful
  3. Industrial carcinogens like asbestos, harmful gases etc.
  4. Environmental pollutants producing harmful gases 
  5. Old age,  genetic factors and family history of lung cancer.

Common symptoms of lung cancers

  1. chronic cough 
  2. Hoarseness of voice 
  3. Chest pain 
  4. Blood in sputum ( hayemotypsis) 
  5. Shortness of breath 
  6. Weight loss and weakness
  7. Symptoms of spread like headache, backache, dizziness etc)

Diagnosis and investigations 

Ignoring these symptoms cough be very dangerous as most of the smokers confuse these symptoms with smokers cough. Consult ur physician/ surgeons for further examination as he may advice u initial simpler investigations like X ray chest and sputum cytology, to rule tuberculosis of the lungs which is very common differential diagnosis especially  in Indian subcontinent. 

With initial suspicion of lung cancer, Contrast enhanced computerised tomography ( CECT ) of the thorax is advised to know the exact size, location of nodule in the lung and evaluate the spread of the cancer. After confirmation of module, patients are advised to undergo CT guided/ Bronchoscopy guided biopsy of the lesion to confirm the diagnosis.

Position emission tomography (PET) scan can be done depending upon the stage and symptoms of the patients.

Treatment for lung cancers 

The treatment modality is planned with cancer specialist and surgeons to maximise the benefits to the patients.Surgery remains the treatment of choice if the disease remains confined to one lung. Various surgeries according to the size of the lesion can be planned  segmentectomy ( part of lung tissue removed), lobectomy( one major lobe of lung removed) and pnemonectomy ( entire lung is removed). 

Surgery can be performed by minimal access where size of the tumour is small or confined to one area and conventional surgery still remains the main surgical modality of larger lung cancers. 

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy play major role in treatment of lungs cancers. They are routinely used to downsize the size of tumour before surgery, target radiotherapy, postoperative chemotherapy and palliative measures.

Recovery after surgery 

Preoperative and post operative period, patients are advised to undergo extensive chest physiotherapy to improve there lung functions which help them in post operative recovery immensely. Stay in the hospital usually depend upon the extent of surgery and patients recovery  of lung functions. 

To consult with best team of general, minimal access and transplant surgeons available at  The Surgeons House (SHL) in different global locations, please click this link for more details. 

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