Physicians and researchers use relative statistics to give prognoses when people are diagnosed with cancers, but there is no predictable rate at which cancer will grow and metastasize, or spread. According to Medline Plus, however, lung cancer, particularly the small cell type, is considered fast-growing.
Following diagnosis, doctors often turn to relative 5-year survival rates to assess your progress, prognosis, and treatment plan. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), a patient is considered “cured” of cancer when it goes undetected for five years or more. However, cancer can spread to other parts of the body, go undetected, and return later.
How Lung Cancer Spreads
When any form of cancer is detected, doctors go through a routine of tests and procedures to determine if cancer spread. Detecting the growth and spread to other parts of the body is called staging, according to ASCO.
Small Cell Lung Cancer vs. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, the two main types of lung cancer are non-small cell and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). While small cell lung cancer is reportedly more rare, the American Cancer Society notes that it typically spreads more quickly than non-small cell cancer, with “about 70% of people with SCLC will have cancer that has already spread at the time they are diagnosed.” Other forms of cancer that begin in other organs can spread to the lungs, too.
Staging and Treating Lung Cancer
There are different stages in the development and growth of lung cancer. Lung cancer stages are categorized by the increasing severity of the spread, from 0 to IV. The following is a list of the 5 stages of non-small cell lung cancer, according to ASCO:
- Stage 0: “The cancer is ‘in place,’ and has not grown into nearby tissue and spread outside the lung.”
- Stage I: The cancer is a “small tumor that has not spread to any lymph nodes, making it possible for a surgeon to completely remove it.”
- Stage IA: Tumors are “3 centimeters (cm) or less in size.”
- Stage IB: Tumors are “more than 3cm, but 4cm or less in size.”
- Stage II: Consists of 2 substages:
- Stage IIA: Tumor is “larger than 4cm but 5cm or less in size” and “has not spread to the nearby lymph nodes.”
- Stage IIB: Tumor is “5cm or less in size that has spread to the lymph nodes,” or a tumor “more than 5cm wide that has not spread to the lymph nodes.”
- Stage III: Cancer has not “spread to other distant parts of the body.”
- Stage IIIA: Difficult tumor.
- Stage IIIB: Tumor “may be impossible to remove with surgery.”
- Stage IIIC: Tumor cannot be removed with surgery.
- Stage IV: Cancer has “spread to more than 1 area in the other lung, the fluid surrounding the lung or the heart, or distant parts of the body through the bloodstream.”
- Stage IVA: Cancer has spread “within the chest and/or has spread to one area outside of the chest.”
- Stage IVB: Cancer spreads “outside of the chest to more than one place in one organ or to more than one organ.”
Ultimately, staging helps doctors determine the best course of treatment. When someone is diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer, doctors may use proven techniques to treat it from the start, with chemotherapy and radiation therapy at the top of the list. This is unlike non-small cell cancer, for which treatment may begin with less invasive options like surgery to remove a tumor.
Talcum Powder Lung Cancer Lawsuits Against Johnson & Johnson
Talcum powder alone is not carcinogenic, but the primary mineral in talcum powder products can be sourced from mines, where it occurs naturally alongside known carcinogen asbestos. Due to this, the American Cancer Society lists talcum powder as a potential carcinogen.
Additionally, a 2019 FDA report and recently publicized documents from Johnson & Johnson prove that the company failed to inform consumers about the potential risk for exposure to asbestos when using powder hygiene products. Johnson and Johnson currently faces thousands of lawsuits due to this alleged negligent behavior. For more than the past 50 years, men, women, and children were targets for sales of talcum powder for daily hygienic use. Without warning, some of these people faced exposure to cancer-causing asbestos for their entire lives.
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Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Represents People with Cancer
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