Cancers of the Lung

by / Thursday, 24 June 2010 / Published in Internal Medicine
  • Lung cancers account for the most cancer deaths and are the 2nd most commonly diagnosed cancer
  • XRAY is NOT a good screening tool because by the time they are seen metastasis has occurred
  • Common signs and symptoms: Cough, hemoptysis, hoarseness, weight loss, fatigue, recurrent pneumonia

The following table demonstrates the common characteristics of different types of lung cancers

CANCER TYPE CHARACTERISTICS
Adenocarcinoma Is the most common lung cancer in non-smokers (periphery and subpleura)

CEA (+), and is used to follow treatment

Bronchoalveolar carcinoma A subtype of adenocarcinoma that is not related to smoking

Presents in the periphery of the lung

Large Cell carcinoma In periphery

Is highly anaplastic and has a poor prognosis

Squamous cell carcinoma Arises from bronchus and is a central hilar mass

Strongly linked to smoking

PTHrP release causes hypercalcemia

Small cell carcinoma Central hilar location

Strong link to smoking

Secretion of ADH and ACTH causes multiple endocrine problems

Treat with radiation + chemotherapy

May cause Lambert-Eaton syndrome

Bronchial carcinoid tumor Secretes serotonin

Causes recurrent diarrhea, flushing of the skin, asthmatic wheezing

Manage with a 5-HT antagonist

Lymphoangio-leiomyomatosis Is a smooth-muscle neoplasm

Most commonly seen in menstruating women

Presents classically with pneumothorax

Treat with either progesterone or a lung transplant

Treat small cell carcinoma with a combination of radiation and chemotherapy

Treat all other types with local resection + radiation (non-metastatic), and radiation + chemo if metastatic

Superior Sulcus Tumor

  • Also known as “Pancoast tumor”, which causes the following:
  1. Horner’s syndrome – Ptosis, Anhydrosis, Myosis because it damages the sympathetic cervical ganglion in the lower neck, AND
  2. Superior Vena Cava Syndrome – obstruction of the SVC causes facial swelling, cyanosis, and dilation of veins of the head and neck

2 Responses to “Cancers of the Lung”

  1. One of the best articles I’ve read in a long time.

  2. Wonderful illustrated information. I thank you about that. No doubt it will be very useful for my future projects. Would like to see some other posts on the same subject!

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