Year after year, lung cancer continues to be among the top five cancers diagnosed in the United States, with an estimated one in 16 people facing the disease during their lifetime. It’s responsible for more deaths than breast, ovarian, colon, and prostate cancer combined. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with lung cancer, the Oncology Department at Richmond University Medical Center offers comprehensive lung cancer treatment to ensure Staten Island residents receive the best care possible.
Our board-certified, experienced team of oncologists uses minimally invasive techniques for staging and surgical removal of cancerous tumors. This allows for shorter hospital stays, less pain, and a quicker return to a normal lifestyle. The average length of stay is two days in most cases.
In addition, all patient cases requiring surgery are reviewed by our multidisciplinary tumor board prior to any procedures to assure treatment is in accordance to national guidelines.
What Is Lung Cancer?
Lung cancer develops when irregular cells form tumors. Smoking and secondhand smoke cause the majority of lung cancer cases, as the carcinogens found in cigarette smoke damage cells within the lining of the lungs. Yet up to 65 percent of new diagnoses are in patients who have never smoked or who quit smoking a long time ago. In these individuals, the cause of lung cancer is often unknown.
There are two major types of lung cancer categorized by the appearance of cancer cells. One is small cell lung cancer, which is mostly found in frequent smokers. The other, non-small cell lung cancer, includes squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma. Several tests are used to diagnose which type of lung cancer is present, such as x-rays, CT scans, sputum cytology, and biopsies.
Risk Factors and Symptoms
Anyone can develop lung cancer, although smokers are at the greatest risk. Your risk of cancer increases with the number of cigarettes you smoke daily and the length of time you have smoked. Exposure to secondhand smoke also increases the risk of lung cancer, as does exposure to asbestos, radon gas, and other carcinogenic substances. Individuals with a family history of lung cancer are also more likely to develop the disease.
Lung cancer is difficult to detect, as it often presents no symptoms in its earliest stages. As the disease progresses, you may experience:
- A new and persistent cough
- Chest pain
- Bone pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Coughing up blood
- Hoarseness in the voice
- Shortness of breath
If you have noticed any of these symptoms, it is important to speak with your primary care physician right away. As with most types of cancer, early detection and treatment are the best ways to ensure successful outcomes.
Lung Cancer Treatment
Due to many recent advances in cancer treatment, patients have more reason for hope than ever before. Most people with lung cancer undergo both nonsurgical and surgical treatments, including radiation therapy and chemotherapy. You may also be a good candidate for immunotherapy, which teaches the immune system to recognize and fight cancer. Many patients receive palliative care as well to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life.
If your oncologist determines that you require surgery, one of several methods will be used to remove cancerous cells, surrounding tissues, and lymph nodes if necessary. These include:
- Wedge resection: Removal of the tumor(s) and a small amount of surrounding healthy tissue
- Segmental resection: Removal of the tumor(s) and a larger amount of nearby healthy tissue
- Lobectomy: Removal of a lung’s entire lobe
- Pneumonectomy: Removal of the entire lung
Your oncologist will explain available treatment options to determine which is best suited to your diagnosis and other cancer care needs.
Lung Cancer Treatment in Staten Island
With the Oncology Department at Richmond University Medical Center on your side, you can feel confident you are receiving the best lung cancer treatment available. To learn more about our oncology services or to request a referral, call (844)-934-CARE today. Our American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer accredited facility is committed to providing the best care possible to restore the patient’s quality of life.