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Is non-small cell cancer serious?

Brian D. Mott, MD
Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular)

Lung cancer is a deadly disease. In fact it is the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women even though it is not the most common. If caught early it can sometimes be cured. The problem is most lung cancers don't cause any symptoms until it’s too late and then non-curable. Most early stage lung cancers are found by accident actually. Patients have a chest x-ray or CT scan for a completely unrelated problem and a lung mass is incidentally discovered. For patients with high risk status (age>55 and smoking>30years) there are CT screening programs recently instituted to detect cancers earlier in this subset of patients.

Non-small cell cancer is very serious. Lung cancer is the most common cause of death amongst cancer deaths, and non-small cell cancer accounts for 85 percent of all lung cancer diagnoses. If you have had a smoking habit and you are experiencing any symptoms like coughing or pain in your chest, you should see your doctor right away. The earlier you find the non-small cell cancer and treat it, the better your odds will be to survive.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.