Lung Cancer


Lung Cancer

Early detection is the best protection.

Knowledge is power when it comes to coping with a cancer diagnosis, and the most important thing for you to know is that early detection is crucial for survival.  At Parkview Comprehensive Cancer Center, we’re here to answer your questions and connect you with lung cancer experts.

What is lung cancer?

Cancer begins in cells, the building blocks that make up all tissues and organs of the body, including the lungs. Normal cells in the lungs grow and divide to form new cells as needed. When normal cells grow old and die, they are replaced by new cells. Sometimes this process goes wrong, and new cells are formed when not needed or old cells don’t die as they should. This build-up of extra cells forms a mass of tissue called a growth or tumor.  Lung tumors are detected by X-ray. 

Tumors in the lung can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).  To determine if a lung tumor is malignant, a biopsy is needed.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States.  Lung cancers are named for how the cells look under a microscope:

  • Small cell:  About 1 of every 8 people with lung cancer has small cell lung cancer.

  • Non-small cell:  About 7 of every 8 people diagnosed with lung cancer have non-small cell.  It does not spread as fast as small cell lung cancer and is treated differently.   

What are the signs and symptoms of lung cancer?

Unfortunately, signs and symptoms of lung cancer do not appear in the early stages of disease and are not noticed until the disease is more advanced.  Some of the signs and symptoms include:

  • Persistent cough

  • Coughing up blood

  • Shortness of breath with exertion

  • Unexplained weight loss of 10 or more pounds

  • Recurring bronchitis/pneumonia

  • Wheezing or hoarseness

What causes lung cancer?

Smoking causes the majority of lung cancers both in smokers and in people exposed to secondhand smoke. It is best to never start smoking. If you are a smoker and want to quit there are resources available to help you:

How is lung cancer treated?

Treatment for lung cancer depends on the type and stage of the disease.  Treatment options include:


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