How quickly lung cancer develops greatly depends on the factors that led to the disease and what type of lung cancer the patient has. Additionally, whether the affected person has a history of smoking or asbestos exposure can influence how quickly the disease spreads. Currently, there is no test available to determine how long lung cancer has been present in the body or when it started. While some types of lung cancer can develop in a matter of months, other cancers caused by asbestos exposure can take years to surface.
The American Lung Association reports that if lung cancer remains localized inside the chest cavity, the five-year survival rate is 56%. However, if the cancer spreads outside of the lungs, such as to the lymph nodes, the five-year survival rate is about 5%.
There Are Two Major Types of Lung Cancer
The type of lung cancer doctors diagnose you with depends largely on the size of abnormal cells appearing in the infected tissue. The stage of cancer at the time of diagnosis can influence the effectiveness of treatment and how quickly the cancer can spread throughout the body.
The two major types of lung cancer include:
- Small cell lung cancer. This affliction mostly occurs in smokers, accounting for 80% to 85% of all lung cancer diagnoses.
- Non-small cell lung cancer. This condition accounts for 10% to 15% of all lung cancer cases and spreads very quickly. Chemotherapy and radiation treatment can be effective regimens for treating this type of lung cancer.
Doctors use a combination of X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, and biopsies to determine if you have lung cancer. Once doctors have identified your cancer, they can work out the best course of treatment for you.
Signs of Possible Lung Cancer Can Appear as Other Illnesses
Lung cancer can exhibit symptoms that appear to be other conditions. It is important to report any unusual changes in your health to a medical professional as soon as possible. Although lung cancer may initially appear to be an upper respiratory infection or bronchitis, it can worsen if you do not treat it.
Other signs and symptoms of possible lung cancer include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest, back, or shoulder pain
- Bone pain
- Phlegm or mucus containing blood
There is no cure for lung cancer. However, many treatments can reduce the size of cancer cells and improve the quality of a patient’s life.
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Common Causes of Lung Cancer
Lung cancer can result from the following:
- Smoking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is a definite link between smoking and cancer, with nearly 90% of all lung cancers being related to smoking. Smoking can also lead to other conditions, such as cancer in the mouth, kidneys, and bladder.
- Asbestos. Inhaling this deadly material can cause lung cancer decades after the initial exposure. In many cases, it takes about 15 years for asbestos-related lung cancer to surface. Asbestos fibers can embed themselves into lung tissue and cause myriad health problems down the road.
- Radon. Exposure to radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers. Radon is a tasteless, colorless, and odorless gas that results from decaying uranium, which occurs naturally in soil and rock. Radon exposure accounts for an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
If you have a history of encountering any of these substances, talk to your doctor about how to monitor your health condition.
Determining Liability for Lung Cancer
If you believe your lung cancer developed as a result of exposure to harmful products in your work or personal life, you may be entitled to compensation. No one should suffer physically, financially, and emotionally as a result of developing lung cancer.
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we understand that your diagnosis complicates your life. Treatments, surgery, and medical appointments can result in missed time from work and expensive medical bills.
If you received a lung cancer diagnosis and believe your case may qualify for a personal injury claim, our legal team can help. We can determine what caused your cancer diagnosis and take steps to pursue litigation. After we identify the party responsible for your condition, we will attempt to get compensation on your behalf. If necessary, we can represent your case in court.
We work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning we receive no payment unless we secure compensation for you. We are eager to hear the details of your situation, and we pride ourselves on not shying away from even the toughest of cases.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm now to discuss your options for moving forward at (800) 794-0444.