Tobacco smoking causes the airways to narrow and make it difficult to breathe. Smoking is a risk factor for chronic cough, asthma, and chronic bronchitis.
Smoking also causes lung damage and can make it harder to breathe.
Talk with your doctor about how to quit smoking. They can help you decide which smoking cessation methods are best for you.
Lung cancer is the only cancer that can spread to the nerves.
The risk of lung cancer decreases if you have a family history of lung cancer.
Talk with your doctor about treatment for cancer in your lungs.
Immune disorders can affect your lungs, which can make it hard to breathe.
Common causes of immunodeficiency include:
- Organ transplant
Treatment for these conditions may help relieve symptoms.
A lung transplant is a surgery in which the diseased lung is removed and replaced with a healthy one from a donor.
People who have a diseased lung that is not suitable for transplant may be candidates for a procedure known as bronchial artery embolization.
This procedure is typically used to treat people who have an advanced stage of lung cancer. It involves removing blood vessels inside the lung and blocking them so that blood can’t go to the cancer. The remaining lung tissue is then reconstructed.
The procedure can decrease the size of the diseased lung, improve breathing, and decrease pain.
Damage to the nerves in your lung can make it hard to breathe. Nerve injury may be caused by:
- Chest surgery
- Lung cancer
Nerve damage can be treated by:
- Removing the damaged part of the lung
- Performing surgery to repair the nerves
- Applying steroid medication to reduce inflammation
Heart disease may affect your lungs.
Heart disease can cause:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
Treatment for heart disease may help relieve symptoms.
Lung cancer treatment
Lung cancer treatment depends on the type of lung cancer.
Some treatments may be done in combination with other treatments.
Surgery is the most common treatment for lung cancer. The goal is to remove the cancer and as much normal lung tissue as possible.
Types of surgery may include:
- Pneumonectomy, or removal of the entire lung
- Lobectomy, or removal of one or both lungs
- Wedge resection, or removal of both upper and lower lobes
- Wedge resection with pleural ablation, or removal of one lobe with the use of an ablation device on the other
- Wedge resection with wedge biopsy, or removal of one lobe with a biopsy of the other lobe
- Sleeve resection, or removal of one or both lobes
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells.
Radiation therapy may be done as a single treatment or as a combination treatment.
Chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells by preventing them from dividing.
Chemotherapy may be used as a single treatment or in combination with other treatments.
For lung cancer, chemotherapy drugs may include:
Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that stimulates the immune system to recognize and fight cancer cells.
Immunotherapy drugs may include:
- Interferon alfacon-1
Targeted therapy is a type of treatment that may be used in lung cancer.
Targeted therapy may be used to block the growth of specific types of cancer cells.
The drugs may be used alone or in combination with other treatment.
The treatments are designed to block or slow the growth of cancer cells.
Palliative care is used to relieve pain and other symptoms. This type of treatment is not a cure. It’s meant to treat the symptoms and side effects of cancer.
To receive palliative care, you’ll be asked about your symptoms and how they affect your daily life. Your doctor will then create a treatment plan that addresses your symptoms and concerns.
Talk with your doctor about:
- Family and social support
When to see a doctor?
If you have any of the symptoms of lung cancer, it’s important to see your doctor.
When you see your doctor, you’ll have a physical exam and a conversation about your symptoms and medical history.
Your doctor may also suggest that you have X-rays and other tests.
You may be asked to keep a symptom journal to help you track how your symptoms affect your daily life.
How to find a doctor?
If you have any symptoms of lung cancer, see your doctor right away. They can help you find the best treatment options.
- Make an appointment to see your primary care doctor. This doctor will be your go-to source of care for any serious medical issues or concerns.
- Make an appointment to see a specialist. This doctor specializes in treating lung cancer.
- Make an appointment to visit a pulmonologist. This doctor specializes in treating lung diseases like cancer that affect the airways and lungs.
What you can do now?
If you have any lung cancer symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor. You can also ask them for a lung cancer symptom checklist to help you and your loved ones manage your symptoms.
If you start to have symptoms, make a plan to see your doctor.
- Find a lung cancer symptom checklist on MedExpress.org. This website lets you track any symptoms.
- Call the National Cancer Institute at 18002272345 to find a cancer doctor near you.
- Download and print out the Lung Cancer Symptom Checklist and discuss it with your doctor.
What is the outlook?
Lung disease and infections can quickly develop into serious conditions if not treated. The outlook for lung disease depends on the underlying cause.
If you have lung cancer, the prognosis is good. In some cases, lung cancer can be cured.
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