Lung cancer: Diagnostic, Causes, Treatments

Lung cancer: Diagnostic, Causes, Treatments

What is Lung cancer?

Lung cancers are malignant tumors that develop from lung cells, usually from bronchial cells.

The lung is the second most common cancer site in France in men, and the third in women, increasingly concerned by this once very male disease. Nearly 45,000 new cases were diagnosed in 2015 (of which 67% were men and 33% women). These are mostly the deadliest cancers, responsible for more than 28,000 deaths per year.

Please if you have any questions about Lung cancer, you can ask us by commenting below this text, we'll answer you as soon as possible.

Causes of Lung cancer


Exposure to second-hand smoke.

Exposure to carcinogenic particles in the air, such as those from asbestos, arsenic, radon or air pollutants (carbon monoxide, ozone, etc.).

Some facts about smoking and second-hand smoke

It was in the mid-1960s that the causal link between smoking and lung cancer was established with certainty.

In Canada, tobacco control efforts have been successful: in 1965, half of Canadians aged 15 and over smoked, compared to 25% in 1999 and 18% in 20081,42.

Through provincial legislation, Canadians are much less exposed to second-hand smoke in their workplace and in public places.

Smoking is twice as prevalent among Aboriginal populations as it is among the general Canadian population.

With the reduction of tobacco use, lung cancer has been declining since the mid-1980s among men. However, in women, this cancer has steadily increased since 1980 and is only beginning to stabilize.

Diagnostic of Lung cancer

If your doctor suspects the presence of lung cancer, he will prescribe different tests. These are done to get as much information about cancer as you can be reached. This step may seem long, but it is essential to clarify the diagnosis and offer the best treatment.

List of exams, their description and their objectives:

Blood tests

Abdominal ultrasound

Pulmonary radiography

Magnetic resonance (MRI)

Bone scan

TACO thoracic with superior abdominal cuts

Computed tomography (CT)

PET scan (positron emission tomography)

Respiratory function test

When radiological examinations indicate the possibility of cancer, a biopsy should be performed to establish a definite diagnosis of cancer.

Biopsy is the taking of a tissue sample from the abnormal area of the lung, lymph nodes or other organs in which the presence of cancer is suspected. The sample is then analyzed by the pathologist.

There are several ways to perform a biopsy. Each of these methods distinguishes "small cell" lung cancer from "non-small cell" cancer.

Information on how to perform a biopsy:


Fine needle biopsy (BTTA)




Prognosis of Lung cancer

Lung cancer is among the deadliest, with pancreatic cancer. The survival rate of people with this cancer, 5 years after diagnosis, is 17% for women and 14% for men. Even if the person responds well to the treatment at first, relapses are common in the following years or months.

Possible complications

Lung cancer often clogs the airways, creating a breeding ground for respiratory infections, such as bronchitis or pneumonia.

As previously mentioned, cancer can spread to other parts of the body by metastasis. Generally, metastases will lodge in other parts of the lungs, and in the bones, brain or liver. They are more common in small cell lung cancer cases.

Two types of lung cancer

There are two main families of lung cancers:

Those "small cells" (20% of cases)

Those "non-small cells" (80% of cases).

This second group itself includes several types of disease: squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and large cell carcinoma.

Primary versus secondary cancers

Primary lung cancers and secondary lung cancers are different diseases.

Primary cancers are tumors that develop from lung cells.

Secondary cancers are tumors that develop in one lung, from cancer cells from a tumor born in another organ.

So, the treatment of a metastasis depends on the location of the tumor.

Symptoms of Lung cancer

Lung cancer can be asymptomatic in its early stages or present with the following symptoms:

Cough that intensifies or persists

Shortness of breath of recent appearance


Constant chest pain

Blood in spit



Unexplained weight loss

Loss of appetite

Other health problems can also cause these symptoms.

Lung cancer

Please if you have any questions about Lung cancer, you can ask us by commenting below this text, we'll answer you as soon as possible.

Treatments of Lung cancer

Every person with lung cancer will have a personalized treatment plan from their health care team. The treatment plan may include one or more options:



Chemotherapy and targeted therapy

Supportive care

Clinical test

Choice of treatment

The treatment is adapted according to:

Cancer stage (degree of extension)

Type of cancer

Medical and surgical history


Overall health status (performance index - ECOG)

The treatments can have as objectives, according to the stage:

Remove the tumor

Reduce the risk of re-offending

Slow the development of the disease

Treat the symptoms caused by the disease

Treatment - Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Early Stage (Stage I-II): Surgery is the standard treatment. If surgery is not possible (eg, tumor location or condition), chest radiotherapy may be available.

Locally advanced stage (III): The feasibility of surgery can be assessed. If surgery is not feasible, the treatment may be a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Metastatic stage (IV):

This stage can be treated with the following modalities:

Radiotherapy for palliative purposes


Targeted therapies

Supportive care

These treatments rarely bring healing, but they can:

Delay cancer progression

Decrease the symptoms related to cancer

Improve the quality of life

Extend your life

Treatment - Small Cell Lung Cancer

The choice of treatment depends on the extent of the cancer at the time of diagnosis.

Surgery is not an option in small cell lung cancer.

For the limited stage, chemotherapy will be associated with chest radiotherapy.

For the extended (disseminated) stage, chemotherapy is the standard treatment.

If the treatments have been effective, it is recommended to perform radiation therapy of the brain, even in the absence of cerebral metastasis. This is prophylactic brain radiotherapy. The goal is to prevent possible brain metastases. It can increase survival.

Follow-up is proposed for the following reasons:

Detect and treat the side effects of treatments

Detect as soon as possible signs of a possible relapse

Facilitate social and professional reintegration

Accompany you throughout the illness so that your quality of life is as good as possible.

Follow-up must be regular. It depends on the stage of your cancer and the treatment you received. It is based on medical consultations and examinations. The timing and duration of the follow-up will be determined by your doctor.

Prevention of Lung cancer

Pulmonary X-ray and sputum analysis were the two most studied screening methods. Their effectiveness is not established. Thoracic CT screening is currently in the research phase.

Lung cancer

Please if you have any questions about Lung cancer, you can ask us by commenting below this text, we'll answer you as soon as possible.

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