Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among American men and women and usually occurs in people over 50 who have a long history of cigarette smoking. Lung cancer results when abnormal cells develop into a tumor and invade and destroy normal lung tissue. As the tumor grows, it can impair lung function, resulting in breathing difficulty and decreased oxygen in the blood. The cancer can also spread to other organs and eventually cause death.
Symptoms of lung cancer vary, but may include persistent cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain, and coughing up blood. Most lung cancers cause no symptoms until they are fairly large or advanced. Many patients will have lung nodules, or spots on the lung. Most are not cancer but in certain circumstances a biopsy should be done to determine what they are. Cleveland Clinic Florida offers minimally invasive options for early diagnoses of lung cancer, including the called Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy™ (ENB), which allows physicians to more accurately identify a lesion deep in the lung, without surgery.
The ENB procedure uses GPS-like technology to locate, biopsy and prepare to treat a lesion in the lung. Using a catheter-based system, the patient’s natural airways are used to access regions deep within the lung, enabling physicians to locate small lung lesions for diagnostic testing and potential treatment. This procedure is typically an outpatient procedure and minimizes the need for more invasive surgical procedures to access lung lesions in the distant regions of the lung. These invasive procedures may require an inpatient hospital stay or cause complications. This new technology also provides the ability to detect lung disease and lung cancer earlier, even before symptoms are evident, enhancing treatment options for patients.
Surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are used to treat lung cancer. Surgery involves removal of cancerous tissue, whereas radiation therapy involves destruction of cancer cells. In chemotherapy, a patient takes oral or intravenous drugs that target rapidly dividing or multiplying cancer cells throughout the body. Treating lung cancer can involve one or all of these interventions. If the cancer can be completely removed, surgery provides the best chance for cure. The Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS) techniques described above also can be used to remove the tumor through very small incisions.
Cleveland Clinic Florida’s accredited Cancer Institute is uniquely designed to offer comprehensive and compassionate cancer care, which often involves the cooperation of a variety of specialists, including oncologists, hematologists, radiologists and surgeons. Please join Cleveland Clinic Florida oncology specialist, Bruno Bastos, MD, to learn more about the diagnostic and treatment options available for lung cancer.
Bruno Bastos, MD is an oncologist in the Department of Hematology and Oncology at Cleveland Clinic Florida. He specializes in Genito-urinary cancer, lung cancer, head and neck cancer, neuro-oncology, experimental therapeutics and clinical research.