Receiving a diagnosis of cancer really makes you think about your life. Once your doctors determine that you have this disease, they have to identify what type of cancer you have. The treatment course that you will follow is dependent upon a correct diagnosis.
If you aren't diagnosed properly, there is a chance that you will receive treatments that aren't effective. This could be devastating, especially with serious cancers that are treatable. If you are one of the people who finds out they are diagnosed with lung cancer, you need to find out which type you have. Here are some points to know:
There are two types of lung cancers
Lung cancer has two main types -- non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. Of these two, non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type with around 80 to 85 percent of lung cancer patients having this type.
There are three main subtypes of non-small cell lung cancer. This can also have a bearing on the type of treatment you receive. Squamous cell carcinoma account for around 20 to 30 percent of non-small cell lung cancers, adenocarcinoma accounts for around 40 percent, and large cell carcinoma account for around 10 to 15 percent. Other subtypes are less common.
Diagnosis of the cancer
A lung cancer diagnosis often comes after you go to the doctor complaining of symptoms like shortness of breath or persistent coughing. Doctors will do tests like blood work, bronchoscopy, chest x-rays, PET scans and CT scans to make a diagnosis. It is also possible that you will need to have a lung biopsy for the doctor to determine the type of lung cancer you have.
Once it is determined that you have lung cancer, it will be staged. This means that the doctor will determine how far it has spread. If it is located in the lung only and hasn't spread at all, it is stage 1. if it begins to spread to other areas of the body, the number goes up. Stage 4 is the highest stage, which means that that cancer has spread greatly.
The treatment plan for your cancer must be based on your circumstances. Chemotherapy, surgery and radiation are three possible treatments. Clinical trials, ablation and other drugs might also be prescribed. Throughout the treatment process, and even if you enter into remission, you will be evaluated and have to go through tests to determine if the cancer is responding.
While there isn't any guarantee that the cancer will respond to the treatment protocols for your type of lung cancer, you should be prepared to take action if you find out that you haven't been treated following the established protocol or if you aren't properly diagnosed. You might have a claim for compensation based on a substandard level of care being provided.