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Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer

About Lung Cancer

Lung cancer mainly affects smokers, but non-smokers can also develop this potentially life-threatening condition. If you have lung cancer symptoms, such as coughing up blood, Arizona Center for Cancer Care’s board-certified oncologists can help. The practice has offices spread across Avondale, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Surprise, Anthem, Peoria, Fountain Hills, Wickenburg, Apache Junction, Sun City, Sun City West, Goodyear, and Tempe, Arizona. Each office provides cutting-edge diagnostics and innovative lung cancer treatments, so call the nearest office or book an appointment online today.

Lung Cancer Q & A

What is lung cancer?

Lung (pulmonary) cancer develops when cells in your lung undergo genetic changes that make them multiply rapidly. These mutant cells don’t have a limited lifespan like healthy cells, so they build up to form cancerous tissue masses.

Cancer typically affects only one lung to begin with, but untreated, it can expand into the other lung. Lung cancer can also metastasize (spread) to your other organs, so visit Arizona Center for Cancer Care if you have any symptoms. If the tumor metastasizes, it’s far more challenging to treat.

What symptoms does lung cancer cause?

Some common lung cancer symptoms include:

  • Chronic cough
  • Weight loss
  • Coughing up blood
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hoarse voice
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Recurring pneumonia

Diagnosing lung cancer typically involves having a PET (positron emission tomography) scan, CT or MRI, a fused PET and CT scan, or electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy.

What kinds of lung cancer could I get?

There are two kinds of lung cancers. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the most common type, is responsible for around 90% of cases. The three forms of non-small cell lung cancer include squamous cell carcinomas, adenocarcinomas, and large cell carcinomas.

Small cell lung cancer is less common. It also grows faster than NSCLC and is more likely to spread to other parts of your body.

What causes lung cancer?

Smoking is the single biggest cause of lung cancer. Environmental substances that increase your risk of developing lung cancer include:

  • Diesel exhaust 
  • Radon gas
  • Asbestos
  • Uranium
  • Arsenic

If other family members have had lung cancer, you’re more likely to get it. Non-smokers who get the disease typically develop small cell lung cancer.

How is lung cancer treated?

The most effective way of treating lung cancer varies according to how advanced it is. Options include:


Surgery is most suitable for cancer that hasn’t spread beyond your lungs. Large tumors might require chemotherapy or radiation therapy beforehand to shrink the cancer. Your surgeon removes the tumor and some of the surrounding healthy tissue to reduce the likelihood of leaving any cancerous cells behind.

You might need chemotherapy or radiation therapy after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells. If the cancer is too extensive to save any of the lung, your surgeon might remove the whole organ (pneumonectomy). 

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-powered energy sources like X-rays and protons to destroy cancer cells. Stereotactic body radiotherapy or radiosurgery involves having intense radiation treatments from multiple angles.


Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells.

Targeted drug therapy

Certain drugs can target specific abnormalities to kill cancer cells. 


Cancer cells use special proteins to hide from your immune system. Immunotherapy helps your immune system identify these proteins so it can attack the cancer cells.

Patients can also sometimes participate in clinical trials for new or improved lung cancer treatments. 

To find out more about lung cancer treatments, call Arizona Center for Cancer Care or book an appointment online today.