FAQs

Lung Cancer: FAQs

With almost a quarter of a million people likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer this year, there are many questions about how to deal with this disease. The expert radiation oncologists at Orange County CyberKnife can help alleviate some of your fears by making sure you understand lung cancer and the treatments available to help. We are knowledgeable, compassionate, and caring professionals who are ready to provide hope for your situation at our top cancer care center.

Answer :

Unfortunately, most lung cancer is not detected until it has advanced into later stages since symptoms are not always apparent. Because of this, screening for lung cancer can be a good idea for people who are at high risk. In a 2011 study, researchers showed that CT scans reduced lung cancer mortality by 20%. Medicare and Medicaid services, and many private insurance companies, will pay for yearly screenings but only for people who qualify using this criterion:

  • Aged 55 to 77 (or 80 for some private insurers)
  • Have at least a 30 pack-year history of smoking
  • Currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years

However, because of the low doses of radiation you will experience when having an LDCT scan, there are risks involved. The American Cancer Society recommends that if you are at a high risk for lung cancer, you discuss the risks and benefits of screenings with your doctor.

Answer :

Most people who are diagnosed with lung cancer do not realize they have any symptoms until late into the stages of the cancer. At that time, you may experience:

  • Coughing that will not quit
  • Shortness of breath or becoming winded easily, accompanied by wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Weight loss
  • Hoarse voice
  • Bone pain
  • Headache

If you have a high risk of symptoms of lung cancer, your doctor may order a CT scan and possibly X-rays to look for abnormal cell groupings in your lungs. If found, additional testing and, likely, a biopsy will be taken to confirm the diagnosis. Then, Orange County CyberKnife will team with your physicians to develop a treatment plan that is right for you.

Answer :

Lung cancer survival rates are lower than many other cancers because it is often not detected in the early stages. Only 15% of lung cancer cases are diagnosed at this early stage. According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for lung cancer is 17.8%. If the disease is caught before moving out of the lungs, the survival rate rises to 54%. However, if the cancer spreads to distant organs, the five-year survival rate is only 4%. More than half of the people with lung cancer die within one year of being diagnosed.

Answer :

Yes, smoking is a serious contributing factor in causing small cell and non-small cell lung cancer. Smoking contributes 80% of lung cancer deaths in women and 90% in men. Men who smoke are 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer. Women are 13 times more likely, compared to people who have never smoked. Between 2005 and 2010, an average of 130,659 Americans died of lung cancer from smoking each year (source: American Cancer Society).

Answer :

Yes. Researchers believe that nonsmokers have a 20% to 30% greater chance of developing lung cancer if they are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work.

Answer :

Radon, a naturally occurring gas produced by decomposing uranium in the earth, is the culprit for about 20% of lung cancer deaths each year. This tasteless, odorless gas, is the second-leading cause of lung cancer and often combines with smoking to increase risk even more. Lung cancer risks can also increase for those who are exposed at work to asbestos, uranium, and coke (a fuel made from coal). The combination of asbestos exposure and smoking greatly increases the risk of developing lung cancer.

Answer :

There are several treatments for lung cancer including surgery, chemotherapy, and a variety of radiation therapies. The treatment options vary depending on your type and stage of lung cancer. You will find a comprehensive array of radiation therapy at Orange County CyberKnife. Visit ourDetection and Treatment page to find details about the radiology services available to you.

Answer :

High doses of radiation are used to kill cancer cells during cancer treatment. This radiation can also affect surrounding tissue and organs. Because of the advanced technology at Orange County CyberKnife, the damage to surrounding tissue is greatly minimized, giving you fewer side effects. However, general side effects from radiation include fatigue and skin irritations (itching, peeling, dryness, redness) at the site of the radiation. Side effects from lung cancer radiation treatment may also include difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, lung or nipple soreness, stiff shoulder, fever and cough, and fibrosis (scarring of the lungs).

Answer :

We are ready to answer any questions you have about your lung cancer treatment options at Orange County CyberKnife. Give us a call today at (714) 962-7100. Our oncology team of cancer specialists can explain the different ways they can treat tumors throughout your body using the most advanced non-surgical and non-invasive radiation therapy systems available. More than 100 area doctors trust Orange County CyberKnife for their patients’ radiation oncology needs. We look forward to your questions.

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