Lung Cancer: Symptoms & Treatment

As with any cancer, the earlier you can find lung cancer, the better. Preventative lung cancer screenings for high-risk patients is a key component of early detection and intervention.  At SSM Health, we are committed to finding your lung cancer - and to helping you decide your next steps - so talk to your doctor today about whether preventative screening is right for you. 

About Lung Cancer

Cells in the lungs can become abnormal over time, and may not die off as part of the body’s natural process of renewal. As these abnormal cells reproduce they gradually form a tumor in the lung. Due to the size of the lungs, these tumors often go undetected for years.We treat the two most common types of lung cancer:

  • Small-cell lung cancers
  • Non-small-cell lung cancers (NSCLC)

Risk Factors

Accounting for 90% of lung cancer diagnoses, smoking is the top risk factor. However, other risk factors include:

  • Exposure to asbestos and other hazardous materials and chemicals
  • Exposure to radon gas
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Family history of lung cancer

Signs & Symptoms of Lung Cancer

Like most cancers, symptoms of lung cancer don’t tend to present themselves until later stages. Symptoms of advanced stage lung cancer can include:

  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Persistent cough
  • Trouble breathing and shortness of breath
  • Discomfort in the chest and surrounding areas
  • Coughing up mucus or phlegm
  • Coughing up blood (hemoptysis)

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, call your doctor and schedule a lung cancer screening. From there your doctor will decide which diagnostic test you may qualify for.

Lung Cancer Screening

Depending on your risk, your doctor may encourage you to undergo regular, preventative CT scan screenings. CT lung cancer screening is recommended for those at high risk for cancer, including people ages 55-74 who have smoked at least an average of 1 pack a day for 30 years. This includes people who still smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. It is also recommended for people ages 50-74 who currently or in the past have smoked at least an average of 1 pack a day for 20 years plus have one other risk factor for lung cancer, such as family history.

Treating Lung Cancer

SSM Health understands the fears following a lung cancer diagnosis. Our cancer specialists are ready to walk you through diagnosis, treatment and beyond. Depending on your diagnosis, the location and size of the tumor, your symptom severity and overall health, your physician may recommend a single treatment or a combination of treatments. Treatment options may include:

You can rest assured that SSM Health’s cancer specialists are here with you every step of the way. Our team will work with you to ensure your treatment plan is tailored for your unique situation and treatment needs. Whether you’re newly diagnosed or seeking a second opinion, you likely have questions. We have answers. Contact us today and see how our exceptional care reveals the healing power of presence.

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