Lung cancer is a devastating disease that affects nearly 170,000 Americans each year. Anyone can develop lung cancer; however, tobacco smoking is the number one cause. The two types of lung cancer: non-small cell and small cell are named for the size and shape of the cancer cells as seen under a microscope.
Anatomy of Lung Cancer
The lungs are made up of many different kinds of cells: epithelial cells (these account for the majority of cells found in the lungs), nerve cells, hormone-producing cells, blood cells and structural cells. Non-small cell lung cancer is believed to arise from the epithelial cells and is the most common form of lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer may come from the nerve or hormone-producing cells.
In the beginning stages of lung cancer, normal, healthy cells begin to grow out of control and eventually form a mass called a tumor. Lung tumors can form anywhere in one or both of the lungs and have the potential to shed cancer cells that spread to other areas of the body through lymphatic vessels and blood vessels. This process of shedding cells and traveling throughout the body is called metastasis – not all lung cancers metastasize. Small cell lung cancer has a greater chance of metastasizing than non-small cell lung cancer; therefore, each type is treated differently.
What causes normal cells to change into cancer cells can be linked to a number of factors, but the process usually takes place over a period of several years. The good news is, no matter the size of the lung tumor, its location or if the disease has spread, lung cancer is completely treatable with traditional medical practices and lung cancer alternative treatments.
Diagnosing Lung Cancer
Early diagnosis is essential to limiting the disease’s growth and increasing one’s chances of beating the disease. Unfortunately, it is difficult to detect lung cancer in its early stages because symptoms typically do not present themselves until the later stages. If lung cancer is suspected, a doctor will order a series of tests to confirm the diagnosis. Common tests for lung cancer include:
- Chest x-ray
- Computed Tomography (CT) scan
- PET scan
- Sputum Cytology
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Traditional Treatments for Lung Cancer
Lung cancer treatment takes a many-faceted approach. The type of lung cancer, the stage of the disease and the patient’s health are all things doctors take into consideration when determining the best treatment. The most common traditional treatments for lung cancer include:
- Surgery – This option is best suited for cancer in its early stages (Stage I or II). It may or may not be used in combination with chemotherapy and radiation. Cancer that is confined to the chest cavity and has not spread to other areas of the body responds best to surgical treatment. There are several different types of lung cancer surgical treatments.
- Radiation – This treatment bombards specific areas of the body with high-energy rays to directly treat cancer tumors where they are located.
- Chemotherapy – In this cancer treatment option, powerful drugs are introduced into the body (usually intravenously) to attack cancer cells. This treatment is especially suited to treat cancers that have metastasized.
Lung Cancer Alternative Treatments
As stated earlier, all forms of lung cancer are treatable. Whether treated with the traditional methods mentioned above, or with lung cancer alternative treatments (or a combination of the two), it is entirely possible to beat this disease.
One such alternative treatment that has cancer patients rejoicing is called Controlled Amino Acid Therapy or CAAT for short. According to the A.P. John Institute for Cancer Research, this biological weapon of sorts has the potential to triple the life expectancy of lung cancer patients, and in some instances, allow them to live years longer than their initial prognosis.
CAAT is designed to complement traditional cancer treatments or work alone. It works in a number of ways to slow the growth of the disease, shrink tumor size, and sometimes put patients in permanent remission. One way CAAT works is by depriving cancers cells of the energy they need to grow. Another way this holistic treatment works is by preventing the cells from forming new blood vessels, and the third way is by blocking the synthesis of DNA, elastin and protein growth factors in the body. In layman’s terms, CAAT essentially robs cancer cells of their ability to grow and reproduce and they die.
Cancer patients with inoperable or metastasized forms of the disease have successfully stopped the growth of cancer cells in their bodies, reduced the size of tumors throughout the body, and achieved a better quality of life with lung cancer alternative treatments like CAAT. Read more about lung cancer and the treatment options available.