What is lung cancer?
Lung cancer causes an estimated 160,000 deaths in the United States each year, making it the most common cause of cancer death in this country as well as around the world. Lung cancer mainly occurs in people aged 65 or older and kills more people each year than colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.
Lung cancer is also one of the most preventable malignancies — since it is usually caused by smoking. But while smoking remains the primary cause, secondhand smoke, a poor diet, and lack of exercise may also contribute to the disease.
Lung cancer treatment in Southwest Florida
The Lee Health Regional Cancer Center is helping patients all around Florida. If you are traveling from Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, or Port Charlotte, we can help you navigate the next steps in treatment options. To learn more, call the facility at 239-343-9500
What are the symptoms?
Early stages of lung cancer can sometimes go unnoticed without a proper chest X-ray diagnosis or biopsy. Early detection is vital because the disease often shows up in an advanced state. Regular screenings catch lung cancer in its infancy so you have a better chance of maintaining your quality of life.
Bronchogenic carcinoma refers to the two main types of lung cancer. Symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Strong cough
- Trouble swallowing
- Coughing up blood
- High-Pitch whistling sound when inhaling or exhaling
- Shortness of breath
- Recurrence of pneumonia or bronchitis
Lung cancer screening program can save your life
Lee Health's expert and compassionate team focuses on individualized care, specializing in lung cancer screening and lung nodules. Private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid cover annual lung cancer screenings. For those patients without insurance, Lee Health offers several options to help. The clinic also provides an annual health-risk assessment, smoking cessation counseling, and an order for the lung cancer screening scan for those meeting national guideline criteria:
- Age 50-80 years old, and;
- Current or former smokers quitting within 15 years, and;
- With at least a 20 pack-year smoking history*, and;
- Do not have symptoms of lung cancer
*This is the number of years smoked multiplied by the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day. For example: 1 pack/day x 20 years = 20 pack years
Lung Cancer Screening ProgramLearn More
Physicians recommend lung cancer screening for current and former smokers. Our expert cancer team will provide quality treatment at the Lee Health Regional Cancer Center.
What are the different types of lung cancer?
Small-Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)
Heavy cigarette smokers will experience small-cell lung cancer more than casual smokers. This occurs when cancer spreads through tissue, the lymph system, and blood to other parts of the body. The small, oval-sized cells spread beyond the lungs and become the more advanced stages of cancer within the lungs.
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)
More common cases of lung cancer will be non-small cell lung cancer. This includes lung nodules that are oval-shaped growths within the lungs. About 80% of subtypes are one of the following:
- Adenocarcinoma: Forms in casual smokers to former smokers and typically more likely to occur in younger people. Mucous cells that line the air sacs make it difficult to breathe as the cancer develops.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Flat cells form inside the airways of the lungs and central part of the lungs (bronchus). This cancer is linked to a history of cigarette smoking.
- Large-Cell Carcinoma: Develops and grows very quickly and has similar characteristics to small-cell lung cancer.
Lung cancer early detection
Our Lee Health physicians recommend preventative screening to find cancer or disease early. A low-dose CT scan or X-ray can detect early stages of cancer development. Our nurse navigators can guide you through the complexities of a cancer diagnosis. To speak with a nurse navigator, please call 239-343-9500
For more information on how to quit smoking: