Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer


Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common kind of lung cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.

Signs of lung cancer may not appear until an advanced stage. If you’ve noticed changes in a long-term cough, or have a new cough that won’t go away, don’t try to diagnose yourself. Instead, talk to your doctor. He or she will pinpoint the cause of your symptoms.

What is Non-Small Lung Cancer? 

All lung cancers occur when cells inside your lungs begin to grow abnormally. These cells often form a cancerous tumor. If left untreated, it may grow and spread to other parts of your body.

“Non-small cell lung cancer” refers to a group of lung cancers that develop and grow in similar ways. They are also treated in similar ways. Types of non-small cell lung cancer include:

Adenocarcinoma is the most common kind of non-small cell lung cancer. Even though it primarily occurs in current or former smokers, it is the type of lung cancer diagnosed most often in people who have never smoked. It also affects more women than men. Symptoms of non-small cell lung cancer include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

Today’s screening tests, including low-dose CT scans, let doctors detect lung cancer earlier than ever before. The sooner you begin treatment, the better your chances of surviving.

You can greatly reduce your odds of getting lung cancer by quitting smoking, even if you’ve smoked most of your life.

Treatment for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer at Mercy

At Mercy, we use the latest treatments to kill cancer while minimizing side effects. We also provide the emotional support and encouragement you’ll need to stay strong and optimistic.

Your treatment plan will depend on several factors. These include what stage your cancer is in and whether it has spread. You may need one or more of the following treatments:

  • Medication, including chemotherapy, targeted therapy or immunotherapy.
  • Radiation treatments, including brachytherapy or external beam radiation therapy.
  • Surgery to remove the tumor. Your surgeon will preserve as much healthy lung tissue as possible. But depending on the size and location of your tumor, they may need to remove an entire lobe or lung.
  • Robotic surgery using minimally invasive technology may also be used.

If you have non-small cell lung cancer, your journey may feel long and challenging. But you can rely on our team for comfort and guidance along the way. We’ll help you finish your treatments, start recovery - and look forward to a new beginning.

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