Over 200,000 thousand Americans (men and women) get diagnosed with lung cancer in the USA every year (70% are elderly). Although most patients receive some kind of treatment before going into remission (a period of time when the cancer is either responding to treatment satisfactorily, or is being controlled), lung cancer is one of the most recurrent forms of cancer that is diagnosed. Many sufferers of lung cancer get cured and go on to live more years, but an increasing number of sufferers become prone to falling into a state of relapse (where the disease returns).
When doctors refer to a five-year or ten-year cure period, what they are actually referring to is the remission period of a patient. During remission the disease may return at any time, although the percentage rate gradually begins to decrease the longer the remission period. If during the first five-years of treatment the disease does not return, then there is a strong possibility that the patient will go on to live at least another five years or more. The problem is that when lung cancer is diagnosed, it is usually in its later stage, and more difficult to treat.
Patients under remission should continually watch for signs that may indicate the cancer is recurring, or has actually returned. There are three main signs a sufferer should watch out for:
1. Changes in breathing patterns, which could include either a shortness of breath, or wheezing when there are no underlying medical reasons why either should exist. They may even occur when a patient is resting. Usually when the cancer has returned, the tumor presses either directly on the lung, or on the surrounding tissues of the lung. A chest X-ray, a CT (computer assisted tomography) scan, or a MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan may be ordered again by the doctor to re-confirm this.
2. Lumps that can appear anywhere on the body (especially in the chest or upper area of the body) may signify a recurrence of the disease. Lumps may indicate that a new tumor is beginning to grow, or an existing one is either growing again, or beginning to spread. When lumps occur in the area of the neck, armpits, or groin, this usually indicates that the cancer has spread to the lymphatic system. The cancer has metastasized when it has affected distant organs outside the original tumor area, usually having spread into the bloodstream to create new tumors or new clusters of cancerous cells.
3. Unexplained and sudden weight loss when there is no reason for it usually indicates that the cancer has invaded other parts of the body. The cancer can attack vital organs affecting their ability to function correctly, causing weight to disappear notably during a short period of time. When this happens, it is advisable to seek the help of a doctor again to check that a recurrence of the disease has not taken place. Usually a test of the phlegm cells under a microscope will detect a recurrence before a tumor becomes visible.
Philip Albert Edmonds-Hunt is from the County of Oxfordshire in the United Kingdom. He has travelled most of Europe, and he has lived in Spain on more than one occasion. Philip has also travelled much of the USA and now lives and works as a Freelance Writer and English Teacher in Mexico. He is the owner of The Oxford Quill, a small but reliable business offering a range of services such as Professional Article Writing, Proofreading, and Website Design. If you would like to read more about lung cancer, check out: https://sites.google.com/site/theoxfordquill/how-to-treat-lung-cancer-caused-by-melanoma