About Lung Cancer | Phoenix CyberKnife Radiation & Oncology Center

Lung Cancer: About Lung Cancer

About Lung Cancer in Phoenix

Your lungs are clearly a vital organ that provide oxygen into the body and gets rid of carbon dioxide, a waste product of the body’s cells. The lungs are made of sections called lobes and of many different types of cells. Most are epithelial cells which line the airways, but also blood, nerve, structural and hormone-producing cells.

These cells, and others in our body, grow and die in a regular fashion, keeping about the same quantity. But when a cell mutates, or changes abnormally, it can affect genes so that the cells grow unnaturally fast. This unregulated cell division can end up forming a tumor or lesion, which can be detected as nodule in an X-ray.

These tumors can be benign or they can be malignant, with the ability to invade other normal tissue. These malignant cells are called lung cancer. Sometimes these cells can travel through the blood or lymph nodes to other parts of the body, called lung metastases.

The cancer experts at Phoenix CyberKnife and Radiation Oncology Center are experienced in treating lung cancer through the use of the most sophisticated and effective cancer treatments. Specifically, lung cancers are broken down into the areas in which they originate.

Each year, almost a quarter of a million adults adults, almost equally women and men, will be diagnosed with lung cancer. It is the second most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer death for men and women, accounting for one in four cancer deaths. But lung cancer is on the decline, due to a decrease in smoking. Survival rates can range from 49% to 5% and depend on several factors, including the subtype of lung cancer, and the stage of disease.

Lung cancer is still treatable at any stage and many people are cured each year and many live a long life after they are diagnosed. The board certified radiation oncologists at your Phoenix cancer center are here to provide these best possible outcomes for you. Working with your medical team, they will investigate every possible treatment and prepare a plan for your unique situation. This plan will be based on considerations of your tumor location and stage, your age, your overall health, and your personal preferences. Your treatment plan may consist of one or a combination of the following:

  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Hormonal therapy
  • Drug therapy

Lung Cancer Risk Factors

Although doctors don’t always have an explanation for why a certain person gets lung cancer and someone else does not, there are some risk factors that have been shown to increase a your chance of developing lung cancer. One that no one can prevent is age. More than two-thirds of people diagnosed with lung cancer are 65 years or older when diagnosed. Here are a few of the other risk factors:

  • Tobacco Smoke - Tobacco smoke causes most cases of lung cancer and so is by far the most important risk factor. Of those newly diagnosed with lung cancer, it is estimated that less than 40% are current smokers, more than 45% are former smokers, and 10% to 15% have never smoked. According to the American Cancer Society, male smokers are 23 time more likely to develop lung cancer compared to those who don’t smoke; for women, it’s 13 times more likely. Tobacco smokers inhale a toxic blend of more than 7,000 chemicals that damage lung cells, cause mutations, and make the lungs more vulnerable to other cancer-causing environmental factors, such as asbestos and radon. And the more they smoke, the greater the risk becomes. People who quit smoking can begin to slowly lower the risk of getting lung cancer.
  • Secondhand Smoke - If you are exposed to secondhand smoke at work, home, or school, you are increasing your chances of getting lung cancer by 20% to 30%. Secondhand smoke causes more than 7,300 non-smoker deaths each year.
  • Radon - Radon is a radioactive gas found in the earth that causes lung cancer, and can be difficult to detect as you cannot see, smell, or taste. It forms naturally in soil and rocks. Radon damages lung cells, and if you are exposed to radon you are at increased risk of lung cancer. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer and the risk of lung cancer from radon is even higher for smokers. One in 15 homes is thought to have excessive radon levels. USDA recommends testing your home from radon and implementing strategies to lower it if it is too high.
  • Personal Or Family History - If you have an immediate family member—father, mother, brother, sister, son, or daughter—who has had lung cancer, you may be at increased risk for developing lung cancer. If you have had lung cancer before and you still smoke, there is a chance it will reappear. People who have had lung cancer themselves are at increased risk of developing a second lung tumor.
  • Chest Radiation Therapy - If you have had radiation therapy to your chest area previously, there is a greater chance you could develop lung cancer. Those with the highest risk include those who have been treated for Hodgkin's disease and women with breast cancer who were treated with radiation after a mastectomy.
  • Diet - Research continues to try to connect any food or beverages that may cause cancer. They have determined that smokers who take beta-carotene supplements are at a greater risk. Additionally, low levels of arsenic in well water has been linked to cancer.

Call Your Phoenix Cancer Center Today!

For more information about lung cancer, please don’t hesitate to call our board certified radiation oncologists at (602) 441-3845 for a free phone consultation. We’re here to answer all of your questions and to help you better understand this disease, and the treatment options that can help. You can also reach out to us using our online message form. Send us your questions or make an appointment and we’ll get back with you within 24 hours. Contact us today.

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