Along with combined small cell carcinoma, they are the leading causes of death in lung cancer patients. When symptoms are recognized and treated aggressively, the patient's chance of survival may improve.
Smokers and people exposed to secondhand smoke are advised by the 'National Cancer Institute' to watch for possible symptoms. These include persistent or bloody cough, constant shortness of breath, wheezing episodes and persistent chest pain. In addition to cigarette smoke, asbestos and radon also represent significant health threats. According to the Environmental Protection Agency's website, radon gas is the number two cause of this cancer. The greatest risk of exposure is in the home.
Having symptoms does not mean cancer is present. Symptoms are warning signs to at-risk and non-risk groups indicating the need for a doctor's visit. A growing carcinoma in the lungs also causes indirect symptoms such as general tiredness and weight loss due to loss of appetite.
A battery of tests will determine the presence of cancer in the lungs. Chest x-rays are one such method. The x-rays make a picture of the inside of the body which allows doctors to find any unusual growths. When x-rays are insufficient, a CT or PET scan makes pictures with greater detail. The CT scan show the chest, midsection, and the brain.
A PET scan follows injected glucose throughout the body. The scan highlights the glucose hungry cancer cells, pinpointing their location in the body. Other detection methods involve lung biopsies, biological analysis of lung sputum and viewing the lungs with bronchoscopy.
The high mortality rate from carcinoma lung cancer is the target of current research. The disease is treated with chemotherapy, laser therapy and 'internal radiation therapy.' Cures are rare, and the 'National Cancer Institute' advises patients to participate in clinical trials to improve their chances of survival.
NCI advises that prevention of this disease requires changes in lifestyle and regular check-ups. Avoid smoking and exposure to other carcinogens, and if appropriate take medication to prevent the start of cancer.
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