Locally advanced untreated non small cell lung cancer

Locally Advanced Untreated Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: A Brief Overview

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer in adults. It is divided into two major categories: locally advanced untreated (LAT) and metastatic untreated (MUT). As its name suggests, LAT NSCLC refers to cancer that is present in the lungs and has not been treated or removed with surgery. MUT NSCLC, on the other hand, is cancer that has spread to other parts of the body beyond the lungs.

Locally advanced untreated non-small cell lung cancer is often very advanced when it is diagnosed. It is typically divided into three stages: Stage IIIA, Stage IIIB, and Stage IV. Stage IIIA means the cancer has grown into the chest wall, lymph nodes near the lungs, has invaded the esophagus, or has caused fluid to accumulate in the pleural cavity between the lungs. Stage IIIB means it has spread beyond the lungs and may have spread to lymph nodes on the other side of the chest, to the heart, to major blood vessels of the chest, or to the diaphragm. Additionally, tumors of any size can be considered Stage IIIB if they have spread to more than 6 to 10 lymph nodes or to lymph nodes far away from the primary tumor site. Finally, Stage IV is the most advanced, meaning it has spread to other parts of the body, including organs and bones.

Treatment of LAT NSCLC usually includes chemotherapy and/or radiation, depending on the stage of cancer and other factors. The goal of treatment is usually to reduce the tumor size and prevent it from spreading to other areas.

Common Symptoms of LAT NSCLC

  • A persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, or hoarseness
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing up blood
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue

Diagnosing LAT NSCLC

If an individual suspects they may have LAT NSCLC, a doctor will usually order a screening CT scan of the chest and abdomen. If the CT scan indicates cancer, the doctor will order further tests to determine the stage of the cancer. These tests may include a PET scan, bone scan, and/or biopsy. A biopsy will confirm the diagnosis and also allow the doctor to determine the type of cells that make up the cancer.

Treatment Options

Treatment of LAT NSCLC usually includes chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of both. The goal of treatment is to reduce tumor size and prevent the spread of cancer to other parts of the body. Depending on the stage and characteristics of the cancer, the doctor may also recommend surgery.

Managing Side Effects

Side effects of chemotherapy and radiation for treating LAT NSCLC may include fatigue, weight loss, hair loss, nausea, and mouth sores. While these side effects can be very difficult to manage, there are many things a patient can do to make them more bearable. These might include managing pain and other symptoms, controlling stress and anxiety levels, and working with a healthcare provider to determine the best management options.