Types and Stages of Lung Cancer

Mesothelioma is also cancer caused by asbestos exposure. While we often think of mesothelioma as “lung cancer,” it’s technically a cancer of the lining of the lungs, abdomen, and heart. But asbestos exposure can also increase your risk for typical lung cancer. Nearly 3,000 people die from asbestos-related lung cancer yearly, twice the number killed by mesothelioma.

Symptoms of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer often takes many years to develop, with gradually worsening symptoms. Common signs include:

  • Shortness of breath,
  • Persistent coughing,
  • Chest pain or discomfort,
  • Wheezing or hoarseness,
  • Fatigue and loss of appetite,
  • Weight loss,
  • Coughing up blood,
  • Swelling of the face and neck, and
  • Chronic respiratory infections.

These symptoms sometimes only appear when lung cancer is in its late stages and more difficult to treat. Often, it can take 15 to 35 years to diagnose asbestos-related lung cancer. If you or a family member have a history of asbestos exposure, you should ask your doctor for regular screening for lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related conditions.

Types of Lung Cancer

There are three basic types of lung cancer, including:

  • Lung carcinoid tumor: Lung tumors are the rarest type of lung cancer and are called “neuroendocrine tumors.” They are slow growing and rarely spread.
  • Small cell lung cancer: This type of lung cancer accounts for about 10 to 15% of all cases and is sometimes called “oat cell cancer.” It spreads rapidly and is common among smokers.
  • Non-small cell lung cancer: Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type.

Stages of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer may be curable if doctors detect it early, but your likelihood of long-term survival depends on the type of cancer, your overall health, and the stage of your cancer. There are four stages of non-small cell lung cancer, each with its own characteristics.

  • Stage 1: In stage one, the cancer is limited to one side of the chest and isn’t yet in the lymph nodes. In stage one, cancer can often be removed surgically.
  • Stage 2: In stage two, the cancer is limited to the lungs and the lymph nodes in the lungs. Stage two treatment typically involves surgery and chemotherapy.
  • Stage 3: In stage three, cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the middle of the chest, and patients may have fluid in the lungs. Treatment may involve a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
  • Stage 3B: In stage three B, the cancer is now in the lymph nodes on the opposite of the chest.
  • Stage 4: In stage four, cancer has spread beyond the chest into other organs such as the brain, liver, or bones. Treatment will involve shrinking tumors as much as possible to allow the patient to live as long as possible.

Small cell lung cancer has two stages:

  • Limited stage: In the limited stage, the cancer is limited to one lung or in the lymph nodes on just one side of the chest.
  • Extensive stage: In the extensive stage, the cancer has spread and may be in one or both lungs, lymph nodes on both sides of the chest, the bone marrow, distant organs, or the fluid surrounding the chest.

Your doctor will order diagnostic x-rays and CT scans to diagnose lung cancer. A pathologist will then examine a biopsy of any suspicious tissue to confirm a lung cancer diagnosis.

Call the Madeksho Law Firm

You may be entitled to compensation if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma, or another asbestos-related health condition. In some cases, you may not even have to file a lawsuit. Call the Madeksho Law Firm today at 888-910-MESO (6376) to schedule your consultation. Your first visit is always free, and you don’t pay any fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf.