Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer after skin cancer, and is the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women. Lung cancer mainly occurs in people who are 65 years or older.

What is Lung Cancer?

The lungs are a pair of organs that are used to breathe. Breathing in, oxygen is inhaled and delivered to the body’s cells to help power them. Exhaled breaths are composed of waste products in the form of carbon dioxide.

Lung cancer begins in lung tissue, and comes in two main types: non-small cell lung cancer, the most common type, and small cell lung cancer. As with other types of cancer, lung cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow out of control.

Diagram of the lungs. Image courtesy of Cancer Research UK.

Diagram of the lungs. Image courtesy of Cancer Research UK.

Symptoms of Lung Cancer Include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough that won’t go away
  • Chest pain
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Weight loss without a known cause

Many of these symptoms can overlap with other illnesses or conditions. If you experience these symptoms, consult your physician to determine the cause.

Screening for Lung Cancer

Screening for lung cancer is performed before symptoms occur, as it is easier to treat abnormal tissue or tumors while they are still small and localized. By the time symptoms occur, a cancer has grown and spread into surrounding tissue.

Types of Lung Cancer Screening:

  • Low-Dose Spiral CT Scan: A CT scanner moves in a spiral motion around the body while a low dose of radiation creates detailed images of the interior of the chest. Also known as a low-dose helical CT scan.
  • Chest X-Ray: X-rays, which are electromagnetic rays, are beamed into the chest to create images of the inside of the chest and organs.
  • Sputum Cytology: A sample of mucus coughed from lungs (sputum) is reviewed under a microscope to check for cancer cells.

In addition to these, your doctor may recommend a biopsy – a tissue sample which is taken and viewed under a microscope to check for cancer cells. Biopsies can take several forms.

Types of Lung Biopsies:

  • Needle Biopsy: A needle is guided through the chest and collects cells from lung tissue using X-ray or CT scan images as a guide.
  • Bronchoscopy: A doctor carefully guides a lighted tube through the throat and directly into the lungs to examine unusual areas.
  • Mediastinoscopy: Tissue samples are taken from lymph nodes behind the breastbone by making an incision into the base of the neck.

Biopsies may also be taken from other areas of the body where cancer has spread.

Risk Factors for Lung Cancer

Both smokers and non-smokers can develop lung cancer; however, smokers have a higher risk.

Risk Factors for Lung Cancer Include:

  • Family history of lung cancer
  • Age
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Exposure to Radon gas
  • Exposure to carcinogens
  • Smoking

Some risk factors cannot be changed, such as age or family history. Taking appropriate precautions may help reduce your risk factor for developing lung cancer.

Reducing Risks for Lung Cancer

  • Stop smoking
  • If you don’t smoke, then don’t start
  • Avoid secondhand smoke
  • Have your home tested for Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas

Treatment for Lung Cancer at Blue Ridge Radiation Oncology

Blue Ridge Radiation Oncology can treat many types of lung cancer. External beam radiation therapy is a highly accurate, non-invasive procedure that eliminates the need for surgery.

Types of External Beam Radiation Therapy for Lung Cancer:

Everyone is unique, and no two treatments are alike. The type of treatment chosen depends on several factors, such the size and location of a tumor, as well as the type. Our doctors will carefully consider your treatment options and design the best plan for you.

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Serving Anderson & Greenville SC, and Surrounding Areas

We welcome patients and family from all over the world, but mostly those living within a hundred-mile radius of Anderson and Greenville, South Carolina.


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Appointments - Call AnMed Cancer Center:

(864) 512-4600
AnMed Cancer Center, 2000 E Greenville St, Anderson, SC 29621

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