Symptoms are often crucial to the early detection and treatment of any disease. Unfortunately, lung cancer does not always exhibit signs until it is already in the advanced stages. Even when symptoms are present, doctors can dismiss them as indicators of a less severe respiratory infection. This means most people will not realize that they have lung cancer until after it has silently spread through different parts of their bodies.
Presently, it is not possible to accurately determine when lung cancer has started or how long it has been progressing. It is, however, helpful to know that this type of cancer typically doubles in size within three to six months. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, one cancer cell would have to divide at least 30 times to develop into a tumor that is one centimeter in length. That is the minimum size a tumor has to be to show on an X-ray. With the given rate of growth, it can be several years before lung cancer shows up on a chest X-ray.
When lung cancer is in the advanced stages, it can spread more rapidly, and symptoms can also worsen accordingly. Sadly, the majority of those diagnosed with the disease are already at the advanced stage.
It is essential to see a doctor during the early symptoms of lung cancer because prompt discovery is crucial in receiving timely and effective treatment. If you think another party is liable for your suffering, reach out to Pintas & Mullins Law at (800) 217-6099 for legal guidance.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Lung Cancer?
Following a physical examination, a doctor may request additional tests such as sputum cytology, imaging tests, and biopsy if there is suspicion of lung cancer. Sputum cytology involves the examination of sputum under a microscope to check for cancer cells. To help with treatment decisions, doctors usually refer to the results of imaging tests like CT scans, chest X-rays, MRI, bone scans, and PET scans, according to the National Institute of Cancer. They will show additional details that can be used to determine the progression of cancer if present. If there is a cause for concern, the doctor will ask for a biopsy to assist with making a suitable treatment approach since this entails taking a tissue sample directly from the patient’s lungs.
Is It Possible to Detect Lung Cancer in Its Early Stages?
It can be challenging to identify cancer in the lungs early on correctly, but it is generally possible. The challenge lies in making a timely discovery of the disease before it becomes difficult to cure. Doctors may use lung cancer screenings for people who do not show symptoms but are at risk for the disease. Cancer is most treatable during the early stages, and diagnostic tests are especially helpful in detecting potential lung cancer.
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What Are the Types of Lung Cancer?
Doctors mostly classify lung cancer as non-small cell and small cell. Between the two, non-small cell lung cancer afflicts more people but is slower in spreading throughout the body. On the other hand, small-cell lung cancer is more aggressive, even though it is less common. As the name suggests, cancer cells of this type are smaller but multiply more rapidly.
According to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, most medical professionals consider mesothelioma to be a kind of lung cancer, although technically, it develops in the lining of the lung and not in the lung itself. However, it can also start in other parts of the body and not just in the lungs. The cause of both lung cancer and mesothelioma can be asbestos-related, and it may take years after exposure before they manifest.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer?
Non-small cell and small cell lung cancer symptoms are generally similar. During the initial stages, symptoms of lung cancer can be too subtle to notice or be identical to symptoms of other kinds of illnesses. According to Mayo Clinic, those who are in the early part of the disease experience the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Cough with blood
- Persistent cough
- Recurring respiratory infections
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Chest, back or shoulder pain
When lung cancer has already advanced, it means cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Additional symptoms, such as the following, may develop:
- Bone pain
- Lumps in the neck
- Swelling in the neck, arms, or face
- Numbness or weakness of limbs
We Can Help You Decide on Your Next Course of Action
How quickly symptoms progress in lung cancer can vary significantly from person to person. In most cases, it takes years to reach an advanced stage, but it is still critical to act quickly after a lung cancer diagnosis. If you believe you deserve compensation after someone else’s negligent actions caused your illness, we at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can review and investigate details of your case. Together, we can explore available legal options so you can get on with your treatment.
Call our office today at (800) 217-6099 to ask about our free consultation.