There are two main types of lung cancer that are commonly diagnosed:
- Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) – most common type of lung cancer, grows and spreads less rapidly than small cell lung cancer. There are three types – squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and large cell carcinoma.
- Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) – less common type of lung cancer, grows more rapidly and is more likely to spread to other organs in the body.
There are several factors that are known to increase the risk of lung cancer, including:
- Smoking and exposure to second hand smoke
- Exposure to asbestos
- Exposure to or history of tuberculosis
The symptoms of lung cancer are relatively identifiable. The main symptoms are:
- New dry cough or chance in a chronic cough
- Chest pain
- Coughing or spitting up blood
- Repeated bouts of pneumonia or bronchitis
The two main types of lung cancer are treated quite differently.
- Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) - surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy can all be used
- Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) - chemotherapy and radiation therapy are usually used
External Beam Radiation Therapy for Lung Cancer
The treatment of lung cancer is routinely done with external beam radiation therapy. Treatment plans for these patient treatments are configured in such a way so as to converge on the target tumour volume while minimising dose to surrounding normal tissue and organs such as the heart, spinal cord and healthy lung.