Lung cancer is a malignant tissue proliferation in the lungs, mainly from the mucous membranes of the bronchi. The medical term bronchial carcinoma hides numerous tumors with different cell types and therefore different forms of therapy and prognosis.
In the case of bronchial carcinoma, a distinction is made between small cell and non-small cell tumors
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) includes squamous cell carcinoma, which accounts for half of all lung cancers. The tumor cells do not grow as fast as e.g. in small cell bronchial carcinoma. It can usually be operated on well because it is predominantly located centrally in the lungs and more distinct than small cell lung cancer. Also, the cancer cells grow less quickly, but also do not respond so well to chemo or radiation therapy.
Adenocarcinoma also belongs to the group of non-small cell lung carcinomas. It has some special status, as it occurs mainly in non-smoking middle-aged women. Otherwise, it can be said that about every tenth cell-type lung cancer is an adenocarcinoma.
The third representative of this group is the rarely occurring large-cell bronchial carcinoma, which accounts for five to ten percent of all malignant lung tumors. All three tumor types grow more slowly compared to small cell bronchial carcinoma and do not form metastases (secondary tumors) as quickly.
Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC) is also referred to as oat cell cancer because the tumor cells are very similar to oat grains. This type of lung cancer is extremely fast and invasive and early causes metastases in the lymph nodes, liver, kidneys, brain, and skeletal system (predominantly spine). As a form of treatment, chemotherapy or radiation therapy is available here, under which the tumor size can greatly reduce or reduce due to the cell specificity. Surgery is performed if the cancer is found only in one lung and near lymph nodes. However, as this type of cancer does not usually occur in just one area, surgery as a single treatment is not useful. Often there are also recurrences.
Small cell bronchial carcinomas also have as a special feature the formation of a paraneoplastic syndrome, i. The tumor cells produce hormone-like substances that can lead to a variety of endocrinological symptoms. Since 80% of all patients already have metastasis at the time of the first diagnosis, this tumor has the worst prognosis.
Special shapes :
- Pancoast tumor
The tumor sits at a certain point in the lung tip and has just through this situation a typical symptom. The most common symptoms here are unilateral shoulder pain radiating to the arm, ribs, neck, and back. This symptomatology is due to the ingrowth of the tumor into surrounding nerve tracts. Often a Horner syndrome also occurs. Horner’s syndrome is the combination of drooping eyelid, narrowing of the pupil, withdrawal of the eyeball, and reversed perspiration on one side. As a therapy, a combined chemo and radiation therapy followed by surgery is recommended if the condition of the patient allows it and there are no metastases in adjacent lymph nodes or other organs.
- Pleural Mesothelioma
This rather rare malignant tumor starts from the pleura, which covers the lungs. Although it can greatly affect the function of the lungs and lead to severe breathing difficulties, it does not formally belong to the group of different types of lung cancer. Causes of pleural mesothelioma are mostly asbestos contacts. Asbestos is the most important risk factor for this type of cancer. Since 1977, pleural mesothelioma has been recognized as an occupational disease in recent occupational asbestos exposure. It grows quite slowly compared to other tumors. Decades may pass between the inhalation of asbestos-containing dusts and the manifestation of pleural mesothelioma.
In the end, however, it destroys and displaces other organs such as the lungs, heart, and diaphragm and forms metastases. It also comes very often to a pleural effusion. This is an accumulation of often purulent, often bloody fluid in the chest. In the treatment of pleural mesothelioma, the affected tissues are removed and replaced if necessary by artificial sculptures. Accompanying radiation and/or chemotherapy can be used.