What You Need to Know About Lung Granulomas

What You Need To Know About Lung Granulomas: Overview

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers among men and women. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), lung cancer affects approximately 1 in 8 Americans over their lifetime.

The average life expectancy from diagnosis is only 5 years. Approximately 80% of all lung cancers occur in smokers or those who have smoked for many years. Smoking increases your risk of developing lung cancer by 50%.

The first step to taking care of yourself when it comes to lung cancer is knowing what you need to do now. There are several things that can help prevent or treat this disease.

Knowing these facts will make your life easier if you ever develop symptoms. If you already have lung cancer, then there are steps that can be taken right away to reduce the chances of progression and spread of the disease.

How Is Lung Cancer Diagnosed?

A doctor will perform a physical exam on you to look for any abnormalities. They may order tests such as chest X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans. These tests help determine whether or not there is cancer in your lungs. A biopsy may be necessary if the test results show that the cancer has spread beyond the lung area.

Treatment Options For Lung Cancer: Overview

There are two main types of treatment options for lung cancer: surgery and radiation therapy. These options are effective in treating and removing most of the cancerous cells in the body.

Chemotherapy is not used as much for treating lung cancer, though it may be used to shrink tumors before surgery. Other treatment options include immunotherapy and targeted therapy.

Surgery

Surgery may be performed to remove all or part of a lung if the cancer has spread there. In a lobectomy, part of the lung is surgically removed.

If the entire lung must be removed, then a pneumonectomy is performed.

What Are The Symptoms Of Lung Cancer?

Pain in the chest and back that does not go away

A cough that does not go away

Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

Ear pain

A feeling of tightness or pressure in the chest orthroat pain

Diagnosis Of Lung Cancer: How Are Tests Performed?

The following tests may be used to diagnose lung cancer:

Chest X-ray: An X-ray of the chest can rule out a simple infection or pneumonia.

CT scan: An imaging test that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce images of the inside of the body.

MRI: A test that uses large magnets and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body.

PET scan: A test that uses a glucose marker that can identify active cancer cells and monitor changes in the body.

Staging Of Lung Cancer: What Are The Different Stages?

The stage of the disease is determined after a thorough physical examination, imaging tests, and biopsies. It helps determine the possible treatment options and overall prognosis of the disease.

Staging of lung cancer is determined by examining these factors:

Size of the primary tumor

Whether the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes

Whether the cancer has metastasized to other organs in the body

Prognosis Of Lung Cancer: What Are The Survival Rates?

About 58,480 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States every year. It causes more than 26,000 deaths every year. Men have a higher risk of developing lung cancer as compared to women. It is the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in the United States. People who smoke are at a much higher risk of getting lung cancer, as are people who have been exposed to asbestos.

The survival rate and the overall prognosis depends on the type of cancer, age of onset, and response to treatment. With treatment, the five-year survival rate is as high as 70%.

Treatment For Lung Cancer: What Are The Treatments Available?

The type of treatment that is most effective for lung cancer will depend on the stage of the disease. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy.

Surgery may be used to treat lung cancer when the cancer is small and localized to the area where it started. A surgeon can remove the infected tissue during this procedure.

Chemotherapy uses drugs to shrink tumors and slow the growth and spread of cancer cells. It may be used in combination with surgery or other types of treatment.

Immunotherapy (or biological therapy) is used to improve a patient’s own immune system to fight off cancer. This type of treatment works by removing proteins from the surface of cancer cells and introducing them into a patient’s body to teach the immune system to attack those cells.

Targeted therapy is a treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific cancer cells. It can stop the growth and spread of cancer cells without harming normal, healthy cells in the body.

Radiation therapy delivers high-energy radiation directly to the cancerous tumor to kill cancer cells.

These treatments are typically used in combination with each other to maximize their effectiveness and to reduce the risk of recurrence of lung cancer.

What If You’re A Smoker? How Does That Affect Treatment?

If you are a current or former smoker, it is especially important to see your doctor as soon as possible if you experience any symptoms of lung cancer. Even if you’ve smoked for years and don’t have any signs or symptoms of lung cancer, you should still see your doctor about being screened for the disease. Early detection is key to successful treatment and smoking can greatly reduce the odds of successful treatment.

As long as you’ve been a smoker, it doesn’t matter how old you are when you quit. You’re at an increased risk of developing lung cancer even after you’ve quit smoking for 5 or more years.

That risk is still much lower than it is for a smoker who has never quit, but it’s still higher than it would be if you had never smoked at all.

If you have quit smoking, talk to your doctor about how to get screened for lung cancer. They may suggest that you undergo low-dose computed tomography (CT) screening, which can find early-stage lung cancer that may not yet have caused symptoms.

This type of screening is most effective for people who are at high risk of developing lung cancer due to a history of smoking.

What If The Doctor Thinks You Have Lung Cancer?

If your doctor suspects you have lung cancer, they will refer you to see a specialist in thoracic medical oncology. This doctor will examine you and obtain a biopsy of the area of your lungs that appears to be cancerous. This may involve taking a piece of tissue or an entire lobe of your lung. The pathologist will examine this tissue sample under a microscope to determine if it is cancerous.

If you’ve been diagnosed with lung cancer in the early stages, there are several treatment options that can help prolong your life. The type of treatment you receive will depend on the type of lung cancer you have, as well as your age and health.

Cancer that has not spread to other parts of the body can often be successfully treated through surgery. The goal of this surgery is to remove the entire cancerous mass, which helps reduce the risk of recurrence.

This procedure is typically only an option if your cancer is in a location that makes it accessible or removable by surgery.

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. It is most commonly used in the treatment of lung cancer that has spread to other parts of the body or returned after a previous surgery.

Chemotherapy uses powerful anti-cancer drugs to kill off cancerous cells. It is most commonly used with other treatment modalities.

The treatment plan your doctor puts together for you is designed to prolong your life and reduce your symptoms. Speak with your doctor about the benefits and potential side effects of the different treatment options.

What Else Should I Know?

Even if you have been successfully treated for lung cancer, there’s a chance that the disease will recur. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a recurrence so you can get a prompt diagnosis and start treatment.

Call your doctor right away if you have:

These signs and symptoms may be caused by other factors, so don’t panic if you experience a few of them. If you’ve been treated for lung cancer, it’s important to stay alert for potential signs of a recurrence so that you get treatment as soon as possible.

Sources & references used in this article:

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Granuloma formation in mouse and guinea pig models of experimental tuberculosis by OC Turner, RJ Basaraba, AA Frank… – Granulomatous …, 2003 – asmscience.org

Immunopathology of pulmonary granulomas by QN Myrvik – Macrophages and Natural Killer Cells, 1982 – Springer

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