Lung cancer is a devastating disease that affects millions of individuals worldwide. Early detection and timely treatment are vital in improving outcomes.
If you’re concerned about lung cancer, a typical question that could be really bugging you is; can lung cancer be treated? In this guide, we’ll explain what lung cancer really is.
We’ll also help you understand the signs to look for and most importantly, if it can be treated. For more detailed explanation on causes, symptoms and treatment options for lung cancer in Singapore, please check this other guide; https://iplungclinic.com/condition/lung-cancer/.
What is Lung Cancer?
Lung cancer is a complex disease with various types. The most common types are the non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC).
NSCLC accounts for about 85% of all lung cancer cases. On the other hand, SCLC is less common but it tends to be more aggressive.
The primary risk factor for developing lung cancer is tobacco smoking. It is known to contribute to approximately 80% of cases. Other risk factors include exposure to carcinogens like radon gas, asbestos, and secondhand smoke.
What are the 1st Signs of Lung Cancer?
Considering how serious lung cancer can be, if you’re concerned about being at risk, you may be constantly wondering, “What are the first signs of lung cancer?” Incidentally, knowing these signs is actually beneficial.
Recognizing the first signs of lung cancer can help with prompt diagnosis and intervention. And early detection can significantly improve your treatment outcomes. Here are some of the signs that may indicate lung cancer;
- Persistent cough: A chronic cough that lasts for several weeks or worsens over time. It may be accompanied by blood-streaked sputum. If you notice a persistent cough that doesn’t seem to go away, especially if you are a smoker or have a history of carcinogen exposure, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional.
- Shortness of breath: Breathlessness or difficulty breathing, especially during routine activities or exertion. If you find yourself becoming increasingly breathless during activities that were previously manageable, it’s important to get evaluated by a healthcare provider.
- Chest pain: Unexplained chest discomfort or pain that may worsen with deep breathing or coughing. Chest pain that persists or intensifies should never be ignored, as it could be a potential symptom of lung cancer. Seeking medical attention is crucial for an accurate diagnosis.
- Unexplained weight loss: A sudden and unintentional drop in weight without changes in diet or physical activity. Consult with a healthcare professional if you experience significant weight loss without any changes in your lifestyle or diet. They can help you identify the underlying cause.
- Recurrent respiratory infections: You shouldn’t overlook frequent lung infections like bronchitis or pneumonia. Discuss your symptoms with a healthcare provider if you find yourself frequently experiencing respiratory infections or if these infections persist despite treatment.
Can you be cured of Lung Cancer?
Being diagnosed with lung cancer can be devastating but you really shouldn’t lose hope so soon as there are still chances for recovery. Now, the chances of being cured of lung cancer heavily depend on factors like the stage of diagnosis, your overall health and the type of lung cancer you’ve been diagnosed with.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a small, early stage lung cancer, your cure rate can be as high as 80%-90%. These rates drop significantly though as the tumor grows and involves other parts of the body and lymph nodes.
In early-stage lung cancer, where the tumor is localized and has not spread to other parts of the body, surgery offers the best chances for a cure. Surgically removing the tumor and nearby lymph nodes can remove the cancer cells and give you the best chances of long-term survival.
Please, note that even though surgery offers some of the best chances for cure, not every patient is a good candidate. This is especially true for cases where the cancer has spread extensively.
In such instances, your doctor may recommend a multidisciplinary approach. This would involve radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy.
In radiation therapy high-energy X-rays or other radiation sources are used to target and kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Chemotherapy involves the use of anti-cancer drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body.
In targeted therapy, the focus would be on blocking the growth and spread of specific genetic changes or proteins in cancer cells. Immunotherapy stimulates the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells.
How long does it take to recover from Lung Cancer?
When you begin your treatment for lung cancer in Singapore, you may also want to know, how long it usually takes to recover from lung cancer. Now, the healing time for lung cancer isn’t the same but varies significantly based on several factors like your individual response to the treatment, stage of cancer diagnosis and the specific treatment approach used.
You may need about 4 to 6 cycles of treatment spread across a period of 3 to 6 months. After these cycles are finished, you will need to see your doctor to check progress.
If the cancer has improved as desired, you may not even need further treatment. If after the cycles are completed but the cancer hasn’t improved, your doctor may recommend a different type of chemotherapy.
You do not have to worry though as achieving remission or living with lung cancer as a chronic condition is possible. Also, survivorship rates continue to improve.
When you begin treatments, it’s also important to note that healing from lung cancer involves a comprehensive approach. This includes not just physical, but also emotional, and psychological support. Supportive care, such as pain management, nutritional support, and counseling will be crucial in helping you cope with the challenges of treatment and recovery.
Promising Advances and Ongoing Research
The field of lung cancer research is dynamic. And the good news is that there are numerous promising advancements and ongoing clinical trials.
These advancements offer hope for improved treatment outcomes and a potential cure. Here are some of the notable areas of research:
- Targeted Therapies: Precision medicine approaches that focus on specific genetic mutations driving cancer growth. Through the targeting of these specific mutations, targeted therapies can effectively disrupt cancer cell growth and improve treatment responses.
- Immunotherapies: Immunotherapy has revolutionized the treatment landscape for lung cancer. It involves the stimulation of the body’s immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. Immunotherapies have shown promising results in improving survival rates and long-term outcomes.
- Liquid Biopsies: These are non-invasive tests that analyze blood samples for cancer-specific genetic alterations to aid in early detection and treatment decisions. Liquid biopsies have the potential to improve the accuracy and convenience of lung cancer diagnosis and monitoring.
- Early Detection Techniques: Advancements in imaging technologies and biomarker identification have the potential to facilitate the early detection of lung cancer. Early diagnosis significantly improves treatment outcomes and offers a greater chance of a successful cure.
The Bottom Line
The question of whether lung cancer can be cured is complex one. But advancements in options for lung cancer treatment in Singapore and beyond offer hope for patients.
It is only important that you stay informed, prioritize your health, and consult with healthcare professionals to navigate the challenges of lung cancer with confidence and hope. If you’re considering lung cancer treatment in Singapore, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with Interventional Pulmonology & Lung Clinic.
Here, you will meet caring professional who will provide the support you need to navigate the challenges and have a smooth treatment experience. For more information and consultation scheduling, here are the contact details to use;
Interventional Pulmonology & Lung Clinic
3 Mount Elizabeth,
(+65) 9023 0158