The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that about 1 in 17 women and 1 in 15 men will develop lung cancer in their lifetimes; the disease is “by far the leading cause” of cancer-related deaths in both men and women. According to the ACS, more people die of lung cancer every year than those who die of prostate, breast, and colon cancers put together.
Lung cancers fall under two umbrellas: small cell and non-small cell. Lungevity.org says that lung adenocarcinoma is a type of non-small cell lung cancer that accounts for approximately 40% of all lung cancer cases. It is generally located towards the lungs’ outer edges, and develops in small airways, like the bronchioles. This type of lung cancer occurs more frequently in women, and generally grows more slowly than other lung cancers. Sadly, most instances of lung cancers that occur in non-smokers are adenocarcinomas.
Broadly, adenocarcinomas are cancers that originate in glandular cells, which are present in our lungs and other internal organs. Most breast, prostate, pancreatic, and colon cancers are adenocarcinomas as well.
Physicians diagnose lung adenocarcinomas using imaging, laboratory analyses, and biopsies; however, approaches used to diagnose a patient will depend on variables such as medical history, current health, and present symptoms. Once diagnosis is complete, oncologists attach a numerical stage to describe the lung cancer’s location, if–or where–it has spread, and whether or not it is harming other body parts. Knowing what stage the cancer is currently at also helps inform what treatment is best suited for a patient. Specialists also analyze a patient’s cells under a microscope to analyze their histology, and look into the cancer’s biomarker profile in order to look for any mutations or other unique biomarkers that enabled the cancer to manifest in the first place.
Types of approved treatments for lung adenocarcinomas include: surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and angiogenesis inhibitors. The best treatment route for a given patient will depend on the nature of their disease; it’s important for patients and their physicians to weigh their options with their oncologists.
Furthermore, many lung cancer treatments also come with various side effects, both short and long term. It’s also important to consider these when discussing your best treatment options with an oncologist; it’s helpful to know that there are many drugs now on the market that can help alleviate these unwanted side effects.
The best way to fight cancer effectively is to catch it early, which you may do so with us here at Ezra. You can learn more about our MRI protocols and plans at ezra.com. Your loved ones will thank you.