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Lungs Cancer

Lung cancer occurs when cells in the lungs divide uncontrollably, causing tumors to grow. Tumors can reduce a person’s ability to breathe, and they can spread to other parts of the body.
Lung cancer is the third most commonTrusted Source cancer type and the main causeTrusted Source of cancer-related deaths in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), it is most common in males, and in the U.S., Black males are around 12% more likely to develop it than white males.

What is lung cancer?

Lung Cancer is one of the most common Cancer and is a leading cause of Cancer-related deaths across the World. Lung Cancer begins in the Lungs and may spread to lymph nodes or other organs in the body, such as Brain. Cancer from other organs may also spread to the Lungs. When Cancer cells spread from one organ to another, they are called as Metastases. Lung Cancers usually are grouped into two main categories called as Small Cell Lung Cancer and Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). These types of Lung Cancers grow differently and are treated differently. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer is more common than Small Cell Lung cancer.

Risk Factors

Smoking is the most common etiological factor for Lung Cancer, other causes are Air pollution including indoor air pollution family history of cancer and history of Lung disease.


There are two types of Lung Cancer one is Small Cell Carcinoma other is Non-Small Cell Carcinoma Approximately 85% of Lung Cancer is non-small cell type which is further divided into adenocarcinoma squamous cell carcinoma and large cell carcinoma. Adenocarcinoma is more common in females and non-smokers.



People with lung cancer may not have any symptoms until a later stage. If lung cancer signs do appear, they can resemble those of a respiratory infection.

  • Early symptoms of Lung Cancer are:
  • Persistent cough / Hemoptysis (blood in cough)
  • Fever / Chest Pain / Weight Loss
  • Dyspnea (shortness of breath) / hoarseness of voice
  • chest pain
  • Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer are somewhat same as Tuberculosis and even Pneumonia, this is one of the reasons patient presenting in late-stage as they keep on getting treatment for other illness.


PET-CT, MRI brain and EUS (Endoscopic Ultrasound through a Bronchoscope) are the major investigations to diagnose Lung Cancer. In Mediastinoscopy, a scope is put in the chest through the neck for lymph node sampling, these are the modalities used for staging. Chest X-Ray is not a good modality to screen, diagnose or staging Lung Cancer as it misses most of the early-stage Lung Cancer..

Prevention and Screening

Best way to prevent Lung Cancer is to stop Smoking and lifestyle modification. There is a very important role of the screening program (detecting Cancer in asymptomatic but high-risk population) in Lung Cancer and it has proved beyond doubt in the large trials (NLST and NELSON Trial) that screening detects Lung Cancer in very early stage and prevent mortality from Lung Cancer.

Who should go for screening

Age more than 55 years up to 74 years, Habit of heavy smoking more than 30 packs per year (one pack of cigarettes daily for 30 yrs), even who quit smoking but for not more than 15 yrs are recommended to undergo a low dose CT Scan for 3 consecutive years.


Treatment of Lung Cancer depends on the stage of disease and performance status of the patient (fitness of the patient). If Lung Cancer is detected in the early stages, it can be treated. Surgical Resection followed by chemotherapy or radiotherapy is the treatment of the choice for early-stage Lung Cancer. For locally advanced Lung Cancer which cannot be resected, chemotherapy with or without radiotherapy is the treatment of choice. Stage IV (Metastatic) Lung Cancer is usually treated by Palliative Therapy like chemotherapy or Targeted Therapy. Use of Immunotherapy and Palliative Radiotherapy depends on the histology and symptoms of the patient. Immunotherapy is a new modality which has shown the promising result with a fewer side effect in the treatment of advanced and Metastatic Lung Cancer.


Lung Cancer Surgery involves removing segment (Segmentectomy), the lobe of a Lung (Lobectomy) or the whole of the Lung (Pneumonectomy) along with lymph nodes (SMLND). Very early cases can be managed by VATS (keyhole) procedure with a good outcome. Early-stage Lung Cancer has very good survival rate after treatment, so the role of screening becomes more important as it detects Lung Cancer in the early stages.