Lung cancer is a condition that consists of uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both of an individual's lungs. Abnormal cells found in lung cancer reproduce rapidly and never develop into normal tissue. Lumps of cancer cells eventually occur as tumors and begin to disrupt the normal function of the lungs.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. In fact, lung cancer kills more Americans than colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. For men, the average lifetime chance of developing lung cancer is 1 in 13, but for smokers the risk is even higher.
The coordinated care offered by Beaumont’s experts in radiation oncology, medical and surgical oncology, is constantly updated as research reveals new approaches to therapy. This is reflected in the fact that survival rates for lung cancer patients treated at Beaumont Hospitals are higher than the national average.
Types of Lung Cancer
There are two major types of lung cancer – non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer is more common than small cell lung cancer.
Lung cancer usually does not cause symptoms when it first develops, but they often become present after the tumor begins growing. A cough is the most common symptom of lung cancer. Other symptoms include:
- constant chest pain
- shortness of breath
- recurring lung infections, such as pneumonia or bronchitis
- bloody or rust colored sputum
- swelling of the neck and face caused by a tumor that presses on large blood vessels near the lung
- pain and weakness in the shoulder, arm, or hand caused by a tumor that presses on certain nerves near the lung
- fever for unknown reason
Clinical Trials for Lung Cancer
Beaumont’s clinical trials are so well respected that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has designated the hospital as a Community Oncology Research Program. Participation with the Community Oncology Research Program allows eligible patients to enroll in cutting-edge clinical trials without leaving their own community. Ongoing studies research better methods of preventing, diagnosing and treating lung cancer.