According to the American Cancer Society, about 224,390 new cases of lung cancer are estimated to occur in the United States in 2016, representing 158,080 deaths. Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer death, surpassing colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined for both men and women. Nearly 2 of 3 adults diagnosed with lung cancer are 65 or older, with fewer than two percent younger than age 45.
Despite the grim statistics, lung cancer can be curable with early diagnosis.
Where Lung Cancers Begin
Lung cancer forms in lung tissue, most commonly in the cells which line our air passages. The two main types of lung cancer are small-cell and non-small cell, the latter of which accounts for approximately eighty percent of all lung cancers. The type of lung cancer is diagnosed following a lung biopsy.
Smoking is a leading cause of lung cancer, followed by exposure to chemicals and other occupational risks. Family history also may play a part.
Symptoms can include:
- chronic cough
- chest pain aggravated by deep breathing
- unexplained weight loss / loss of appetite
- coughing up blood (hemoptysis)
- difficulty breathing (dyspnea)
- recurring bronchitis or pneumonia
- a new onset of wheezing
Lung Cancer Standard Testing
When a physician suspects lung cancer in a patient, the following tests should be performed:
- Chest x-ray (PA and Lateral) and/or CT scan
- Laboratory studies
- Pulmonary function tests
- Bronchoscopy or sputum cystology to confirm diagnosis
Why Doctors Fail to Diagnose Lung Cancer
Sometimes, diagnosis is delayed. The physician or radiologist may fail to detect lung abnormalities via chest x-ray, or perhaps patient follow up is lacking. Failure to diagnose lung cancer can be devastating for the patient, as the sooner lung cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome. Yet, despite advanced screening and diagnostics, many lung cancers remain undetected until the later stages.
If your physician or other medical professionals failed to diagnose or misdiagnosed your lung cancer, you may be able to hold them accountable for negligence. Contact a lung cancer attorney now for a free consultation.