Lung cancer starts as abnormal cells in the lungs and then forms into malignant tumors. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women in the United States. Symptoms of lung cancer include coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath and rapid weight loss.
Lung cancers are broadly classified into two types: small cell lung cancers (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC). This classification is important because these two types of cancers grow, spread, and are treated differently.
Small Cell Lung Cancers
This type of lung cancer is the most aggressive and grows rapidly. It accounts for about 10 percent to 15 percent of all lung cancers and is strongly related to cigarette smoking. SCLCs metastasize quickly meaning it spreads to other areas of the body.
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancers
This is the most common type of lung cancers, accounting for about 85 percent of cases. There are three main types of NSCLC which are designated by the type of cells found in the tumor, including:
- Adenocarcinomas are the most common type of NSCLC in the United States and make-up about 40 percent of lung cancer cases. These types of cancer are seen in both smokers and non-smokers and tend to affect women more than men.
- Squamous cell carcinomas are responsible for 25 percent to 30 percent of all lung cancers. This type of cancer typically stays within the lungs, spreads to lymph nodes and can grow quite large.
- Large cell carcinomas are the least common type of cancer, making up about 10 percent to 15 percent of all lung cancers, and it has a higher tendency to spread to lymph nodes and other distant parts of the body.
There is a third less common form of lung cancer called carcinoid tumors. This cancer grows more slowly than other forms of cancer.
Metastatic cancers from other parts of the body, such as the breasts or prostate, are often found in the lung. Tumors in other areas of the body may spread to the lungs through the bloodstream, the lymphatic system, or nearby organs.
Treatments for lung cancer will vary based on the type of cancer, what stage of cancer the patient is in, and the patient’s individual treatment goals. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, or a combination of therapies. There are also clinical trials for treatments that some patients may want to explore.
Recent studies have shown that when patients are in an early stage of operable lung cancer, they had more favorable results when treated with CyberKnife stereotactic radiation therapy (SABR) over surgery.
CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System beams high doses of radiation directly to your tumor while you rest on our comfortable treatment couch. The CyberKnife can deliver radiation to anywhere in the body, including hard-to-find spots in the brain, head, neck, spine, lung, prostate, liver, pancreas, and other soft tissue. The primary benefit is the precision of targeting tumors while minimizing radiation exposure to healthy surrounding tissue and organs. Additionally, it reduces both the short and long-term side effects commonly associated with conventional lung cancer treatments.