FACTS ABOUT LUNG CANCER

When you’re looking for a lung cancer doctor in Juneau, AK, we at Southeast Radiation Oncology Center are glad to be here for you with our fast and efficient lung cancer treatment services. As your Juneau, AK doctor, we’re proud to provide personalized lung cancer treatment for those who have developed this type of cancer. The first step in treating and defeating lung cancer lies in understanding more about it, and you’ll find all relevant information below.

Lung cancers come in three main types: non-small cell lung cancer (which make up about 85 percent of lung cancers), small cell lung cancer, and lung carcinoid tumors. Lung cancer is actually the second-most common type of cancer in both men and women. Not only that, but lung cancer is also the leading cause of death from cancer for men and women. Lung cancers actually claim more lives than breast, prostate, colon, and ovarian cancers combined. Thankfully, with the utilization of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and other lung cancer treatments, this deadly disease can be overcome.


Learn More About Lung Cancer


Causes of Lung Cancer

The most frequent causes of lung cancer include the following:

  • Smoking
  • Secondhand smoke
  • A family history of lung cancer
  • Lung disease
  • Radon gas
  • Asbestos
  • Air pollution
Back to top ▴

SIGNS OF Lung Cancer

Approximately 25 percent of patients diagnosed with lung cancer won’t show any symptoms of it beforehand. However, most will have some kind of signs or symptoms that are apparent. These can include:

  • Persistent coughing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chest pain
  • Weight loss
Back to top ▴

TREATING LUNG CANCER

Lung cancer treatment depends on several factors, including the type and stage of the lung cancer and your overall health. At earlier stages, surgery is usually required and can be curative depending on the size of the tumor and how much it has spread. Surgery may be recommended before treatment even begins, to explore whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes or other locations in the body.

In more advanced cases, surgery can be replaced by radiation and chemotherapy. Radiation therapy uses a high-energy X-ray that can be used to treat lung cancer noninvasively. It works within the cancer cells by damaging their ability to multiply. Then, these cells die and the body can naturally eliminate them. Chemotherapy means drug treatment, and is usually combined with radiation for the most effective treatment outcome. Different drug combinations produce different side effects and the physician will work with the patient to determine the best course of treatment.

Back to top ▴

TYPES OF RADIATION THERAPY

External beam radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) is the safe delivery of high-energy X-rays to your cancer. Before these treatment sessions begin, the patient will be mapped with small tattoo-like marks to ensure the most accurate treatment possible. Radiotherapy is given in a series of daily treatment, and for small cell lung cancer, two treatments may be given daily.

Different techniques can be used to give radiation for lung cancer:

  • Three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3-D CRT) combines multiple radiation treatment fields to deliver precise doses of radiation to the lung tumor. Radiation oncologists are able to tailor each of the radiation beams to focus on the tumor while protecting nearby healthy tissue.
  • Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is a specialized form of 3-D CRT that modifies the radiation by varying the intensity of each radiation beam. IMRT is still being studied for lung cancer.
  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is a specialized form of radiation that delivers high doses of radiation to small and very precisely defined targets over a shortened course of therapy, usually in five treatments or less.
  • Proton beam therapy is a type of external beam radiation therapy that uses proton beams rather than X-rays, which can give less radiation to normal tissue. The benefits of proton beam therapy over other external beam radiation therapies are still being studied. 
Back to top ▴

CYBERKNIFE

The CyberKnife System offers non-invasive radiation therapy treatments for lung cancers. With the CyberKnife System, we can treat lung tumors with pinpoint accuracy. Unlike conventional radiation therapy, the CyberKnife System leverages advanced robotics to precisely target tumors with high doses of radiation, minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue and minimizing side effects.

Cyberknife combines advanced technologies to treat lung tumors with pinpoint accuracy and high doses of radiation. This minimizes the damage to the surrounding healthy tissue, and reduces side effects. As a member of Advanced Oncology Associates, Dr. Huang has access to the Alaska CyberKnife Center at Providence Cancer Center in Anchorage.

Back to top ▴

PREVENTING LUNG CANCER

While there’s no way to guarantee whether or not you will develop lung cancer, there are proactive steps you can take to lower your risk. They include the following:

  • Don’t smoke (or stop smoking). Tobacco is the leading cause for developing lung cancer.
  • Avoid any kind of secondhand smoking as well. Even though you’re not the one that’s smoking, inhaling smoke from others can still greatly enhance your chances of developing lung cancer.
  • Get your home tested for radon. This is a great way to limit your exposure to radon, one of the bigger causes of lung cancer behind smoking.
  • Eat a healthy diet that’s full of fruits and vegetables. It’s suggested that a diet that’s rich in these foods will reduce the risk of lung cancer.
  • Tell your oncologist about any side effects you have, so they can do their best to reduce your discomfort.
Back to top ▴

CARING FOR YOURSELF DURING TREATMENT

Cancer treatment can be difficult. You have many issues to cope with. Your oncology team, along with family and friends are available to help.

  • Get plenty of rest during treatment, and don't be afraid to ask for help.
  • Follow your doctor's orders. Your doctor may ask you to call if you develop a fever of 101° F or higher.
  • Ask if you are unsure about anything. There are no stupid questions.
  • Tell your doctor about any medications, vitamins or supplements you are taking to make sure they are safe to use during radiation therapy.
  • Nutrition is important. Eat a balanced diet. Let your doctor know if you have trouble swallowing, food tastes funny or you have trouble eating.
  • Treat the skin exposed to radiation with special care. Wear a shirt when you're in the sun, avoid hot or cold packs, only use lotions and ointments after checking with your doctor or nurse, and clean the area with warm water and mild soap.

Contact Your Juneau, AK Lung Cancer Doctor

If you have any questions about lung cancer or our lung cancer treatment, please don’t hesitate to contact us. As your trusted Juneau, AK cancer physicians, it’s our goal to help you in any way we can.

Back to top ▴

Lung Cancer Resources

American Lung Association

1-800-LUNG-USA 
www.lungusa.org

Lungcancer.org

1-800-813-HOPE
www.lungcancer.org

Lung Cancer Alliance

1-800-298-2436
www.lungcanceralliance.org

Also see Helpful Links

Back to top ▴

BROCHURE

Download a helpful brochure from www.rtanswers.org

*Content provided by the American Society for Radiation Oncology, www.rtanswers.org, and the American Cancer Society.

Back to top ▴