Lung Cancer

The American Cancer Society estimates there are about 175,000 new cases of lung cancer in the U.S. each year. Gundersen Health System Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders has state-of-the-art equipment and highly trained staff to provide the best outcomes for patients diagnosed with this disease.

Lung cancer is often called the “disease of smokers,” yet 10 to 15 percent of lung cancer patients have never touched a cigarette; many more have not smoked in years, or even decades. While smoking and second-hand smoke are the major risk factors of lung cancer, environmental factors such as radon, asbestos, arsenic, mineral dusts and other factors can also increase the risk. 

Homes should be checked for hazards such as asbestos and radon. People should also wear a mask or respirator when handling strong chemicals such as paint strippers and solvents or when working around sawdust, insulation or drywall dust.

There may be few or no symptoms in the early stages of lung cancer, but people at risk, should watch out for:

  • A new, worsening or persistent cough or coughing up blood
  • Dull, aching or persistent pain in the chest or shoulders
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing or hoarseness
  • Choking or swallowing problems
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss

These symptoms are also indications of less harmful conditions — the only way to be sure is to check with a doctor.

Treatment of lung cancer depends on the type of cancer, the stage, the location and whether the cancer has spread. Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation.

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