Lung cancer is serious. Among fatalities caused by cancer, it ranks number one, among both sexes. These deaths amounted to 1.3 million worldwide in 2004, and the number has probably increased since then.
Non Small Cell Lung Carcinoma is one of two major types of lung cancer, and the most common; the other being, as evident, Small Cell Lung Carcinoma. The main difference between them is the treatment. Non Small Cell Lung Carcinoma (NSCLC) does not respond as well to chemotherapy and radiation as SCLC, and surgery is often required. Another point of difference is that NSCLC grows and spreads much slower than SCLC.
There are quite a few different types of NSCLC, but of them, there are three that are most prevalent:
Symptoms may not be present in the early stages of the disease, but may include persistent coughing (with possible blood), wheezing and shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue along with loss of appetite and weight.
Lung cancer is usually found through a variety of imaging scans (X-ray, MRI, PET, CT etc) that look for masses in the lung cavity. These tests can show the cancers directly and whether and how much they have spread. Further, a biopsy may be performed to confirm a diagnosis, followed by further imaging to ascertain the exact stage in the progression of the cancer.
The exact nature of the treatment depends on the determination of the stage of the disease, done during testing. NSCLC, as previously stated, does not respond very well to chemotherapy, and surgery is usually performed to remove specific tumors. Sometimes, it may be necessary to remove part or more of the lung. Chemotherapy may also sometimes be administered, before and after surgery, to improve the chances of success.
Where surgery is not possible, alternatives such as radiation, laser and photodynamic therapy also exist.