Understanding Adenocarcinoma Lung Cancer

Understanding Adenocarcinoma Lung Cancer

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) is further subdivided into three major variants: adenocarcinoma lung cancer, squamous cell lung carcinoma, and large cell cancer.

While it may seem on the surface that such divisions are just so much medical techno-babble, the reality is very different. Just as there is a difference in first presentation between small cell lung cancers (SCLC) and NSCLC. Because SCLC tends to have metastasized prior to discovery, the only widely available course of treatment is chemotherapy. NSCLC is more often found while it is still localized to a single, larger mass or a collection of co-located smaller masses.

For adenocarcinoma lung cancer, surgical removal and/or lymph node drainage are the favored treatment options. It is the least likely of the various types of NSCLC to have metastasized prior to discover and offers some of the best survival rates. This is also the cancer of the lungs most often found in people under the age of 45, non-smokers, and other groups theoretically at low risk for developing lung cancers.

Despite its prevalence in the lower risk populations, the most reliable predictor of adenocarcinoma is smoking. Statistically speaking, smokers have 13 times the chance of developing this type of cancer than non-smokers nationwide.

If the treating doctor determines a patients adenocarcinoma lung cancer is restricted to the lungs, generally one of four surgical treatments is recommended. They are:

-Video-assisted thoracoscopy: an arthroscopic procedure into the thoracic cavity that allows the identification and removal of abnormal tissue

-Wedge resection: in essence, and tumor and margins removal of lung tissue

-Lobectomy: removing a single lobe of the lung

-Pneumonectomy: removing one entire lung

Post surgery, physicians will generally recommend one of two follow-on treatments: chemotherapy or radiation. Which one they recommend depends on what stage the cancer is in. For Stage II or lower, meaning that the cancer is believed to have stayed in one location, radiation is generally the treatment of choice, combined with lymphatic system draining to minimize the chance of metastasizing post-surgery. If the doctor suspects Stage III cancer or greater, then the more full-system treatment offered by chemotherapy is generally recommended. In the end, the patient will have the final decision.

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