Why Choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Lung Cancer Treatment?
Lung cancer, in fact, is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death in the United States, and the world. When it is detected, decisions regarding the treatment approach should be made quickly so as to maximize the chances of a successful recovery. Lung cancer may often require surgical treatment if medicines and other conservative methods are not effective enough. If you have been advised surgery for your lung cancer, you may be a candidate for robotic surgery at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital.
Lung cancer is a condition in which cells inside the lungs multiply in an uncontrollable manner. Lung cancer that originates in the lungs may spread to distant organs in our body such as the brain. On the other hand, cancer affecting other organs may spread to involve the lungs. Lung cancers are divided into 2 major types named small-cell and non-small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer occurs more commonly.
Lung Cancer Surgical Procedures Performed at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital
Surgical treatment is considered as the last option when medication and other conservative treatment methods are ineffective in the treatment of lung cancer. Our surgeons may advise one of the following four types of surgery to treat lung cancer.
- Wedge resection: In this procedure, the portion of the lung lobe including cancer and some amount of healthy tissue surrounding it is removed. If a larger amount of tissue is excised, it is called segmental resection.
- Lobectomy: This involves the removal of an entire lobe of the lung.
- Pneumonectomy: The surgery, which is performed to remove one entire lung.
- Sleeve resection: This involves the removal of only a part of the bronchus.
Pulmonary lobectomy is indicated when cancer occurs within a lobe of the lung. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia. The surgeon makes an incision between the ribs in order to establish access to the involved lung. After the affected lung tissue is removed, your surgeon places a drainage tube that drains fluid, air, and blood out of the chest cavity. The incision is then closed with sutures. The draining tube is left in place until the lung expands fully.
Drugs and Other Treatment Needed for Lung Cancer
Our oncologist will decide on the most suitable treatment plan for you taking into account factors such as the type and stage of your cancer, your general health, and your preferences. The options include chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy, and radiation therapy, or a combination of these.
When you feel the side effects of treatment are greater than the benefits obtained, you may choose not to undergo any treatment. In this case, oncologists may prescribe comfort care or palliative care that takes care of cancer symptoms such as pain and shortness of breath.
Targeted therapy »
Laser therapy »
Radiation therapy »
Photodynamic therapy »
Lung cancer is classified into three main types based on how lung cancer cells appear during a microscopic examination.
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer »
Small Cell Lung Cancer »
Lung Carcinoid Tumor »
Symptoms of Lung Cancer
Lung cancer at an early stage may not have any signs or symptoms.
It may be evident on a chest X-ray done for some other reason.
The common signs and symptoms of lung cancer include:
- Continuous chest pain or discomfort
- Chronic cough that does get relieved or worsens over time
- Blood-stained sputum
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
- Hoarse voice
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Trouble with swallowing
- Swelling of the face and neck veins
Diagnosis of Lung Cancer
The process of diagnosis begins with an evaluation of the patient's medical history, family history of lung cancer, and a physical examination. Your oncologist may order certain diagnostic tests and procedures in order to diagnose lung cancer. These include:
- Imaging tests: A chest X-ray image may reveal an abnormal mass or nodule. A CT scan may be ordered to detect smaller lesions in the lungs that cannot be seen on X-ray.
- Sputum cytology: If you have a productive cough, an examination of the sputum under a microscope can reveal lung cancer cells.
- Biopsy: The procedure in which a sample of abnormal cells or tissues is removed to check for signs of cancer through microscopic examination is called a biopsy. The techniques by which a biopsy can be performed include:
- Bronchoscopy: With this technique, abnormal tissues of the trachea and large airways of the lungs can be examined using a bronchoscope. The bronchoscope, which is a thin tube with a light and lens for viewing is passed through your nose or mouth to reach the trachea and lungs. It may also have a cutting tool that removes the tissue sample to be checked under a microscope.
- Mediastinoscopy: In this procedure, an incision is placed at the base of the neck through which a mediastinoscope is inserted into the chest to remove tissue or lymph node samples for examination under a microscope for signs of cancer.
- Thoracoscopy: This procedure involves a surgical incision between the two ribs through which a thoracoscope is passed into the chest to remove a part of the lung.
- Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy of the lung: In this technique, X-ray, ultrasound, or CT images are used to guide a biopsy needle through the chest wall into the abnormal lung tissue. A tissue sample is removed with the needle and examined under a microscope to check for cancer cells.
Risk Factors for Lung Cancer
The risk factors for lung cancer are listed below:
- Smoking: Tobacco smoking is the most significant risk factor that causes lung cancer, and people who smoke have a 20 times higher risk of developing lung cancer than people who do not smoke.
- Secondhand smoke: Exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke is also a risk factor for lung cancer. Passive smokers are exposed to the same carcinogenic agents as smokers but in smaller amounts.
- Family history: People with a history of lung cancer in close relatives are twice as likely to develop lung cancer as people without a family history of this condition.
- HIV infection: Individuals with HIV infection are at twice as a greater risk than non-infected people.
- Environmental risk factors: These include radiation exposure from radiation therapy, atomic bomb radiation, imaging tests, and radon. Exposure to substances such as asbestos, arsenic, chromium, nickel, beryllium, cadmium, tar, and soot in the workplace increases the risk of lung cancer.
- Air pollution: Residing in areas having higher levels of air pollution increases the risk of lung cancer.
Causes of Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is caused mainly due to the use of tobacco products, which contain carcinogenic substances. When tobacco smoke is inhaled, the cells lining the lung tissues undergo changes that can be repaired initially. But, with repeated exposure, these cells become damaged, act abnormally, and gradually develop into cancer. Cigarette smoking, use of smokeless tobacco, and regular exposure to secondhand smoke are responsible for lung cancer death in the US. Miners exposed to radon gas are at greater risk for lung cancer. Inhalation of asbestos particles at shipbuilding yards, asbestos mining, and manufacturing can cause damage to lung cells and increase the risk of lung cancer.
Alternative lung cancer treatments may be combined with our physician's care only to help relieve your signs and symptoms as these methods do not provide a complete cure for cancer. You may be advised to seek alternative therapies if their benefits outweigh the risks. The American College of Chest Physicians recommends the following therapies for patients with lung cancer:
- Acupuncture: This therapy involves the insertion of small needles into specific sites on your body known as acupuncture points. It is safe while performed by a certified practitioner, and may relieve pain, control nausea and vomiting, and other side effects of cancer treatment such as fatigue, xerostomia, hot flashes, neuropathy, depression, and sleep problems. Acupuncture is not recommended for patients with decreased blood counts or under anticoagulant therapy.
- Hypnosis: This therapy takes you to a trance-like state, which is more relaxing. It is done by a therapist who guides you through the relaxation exercises. Hypnosis can help reduce pain, anxiety, and nausea in patients with cancer.
- Massage: It is performed by a specially trained massage therapist who uses his or her hands to apply pressure on your skin and muscles. Massage helps in relieving pain and anxiety in patients with cancer. Patients with low blood counts and anticoagulant therapy should avoid having a massage.
- Meditation: Meditation involves a quiet time when you can just focus on something, for instance, an idea, picture, or a sound. It helps reduce anxiety and improves the quality of life of patients with cancer. You can meditate on your own or follow an instructor.
- Yoga: Yoga is a combination of gentle body stretches associated with deep breathing and meditation. It helps patients with cancer overcome sleep problems. It is generally safe when learned from a trained instructor.
Lung cancer may be prevented by avoiding the identified risk factors, and increasing the protective factors such as quitting smoking, lowering exposure to radon and other workplace risk factors, eating healthy food, and regular exercise.
For any questions, information, or guidance related to lung cancer, consult our skilled specialists at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital.