Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer among men and women in the United States, as well as worldwide. Lung cancer involves four stages with treatment forms being different in each stage of the cancer. These treatments are dependent on several factors of the disease itself, as well as the patient’s physical condition at the time of treatment. At some time after the initial stage, lung cancer will metastasize. The cancer cells have now had time to grow and multiply at a dramatic rate of speed invading and destroying the lymphatic system of the body.
A lymph node is shaped like a small bean. These lymph node cells help to battle infections in our bodies and are joined by lymph vessels. Lymph vessels move a clear, lymph fluid away from the lungs through a means similar to the venous system in the cardiovascular system. This lymph fluid contains waste, tissue fluid, and our immune system cells. The lymphatic system of the body has numerous parts to it. The body contain hundreds of lymph nodes throughout that play an important role in disposing of waste products and fighting disease and infection.
Hilar lymph nodes and mediastinal lymph nodes are the most important of the lymphatic system. Hilar lymph nodes, also known as N1 nodes, are relatively close to the invading tumor. Mediastinal lymph nodes dwell in the area between the heart and the lung. If the mediastinal lymph nodes are located on the same side as the mass or tumor, they are known as N2 nodes. If the mediastinal lymph nodes are on the side opposite the mass or tumor, region they are referred to as N3 nodes.
As the lung cancer cells grow and multiply they make their way into the lymphatic system (vessels) and the cells start to grow in the lymph nodes surrounding the lung tissue, the bronchi, and the mediastinum. It is highly likely at this point that other organs of the body have been affected as well. This is because the cancer cells break from the tumors and travel throughout the lymph system to the rest of the body, seeding tumor growth in other areas of the body.
Treatment of lung cancer varies among individuals. Basically, there are three common forms of treatment along with medication. These treatments involve either a surgical resection of the offending mass or tumor, radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
A person with lung cancer should be monitored in each stage of his developing cancer in hopes of stopping the spreading of these cancer cells. The lung cancer patient’s physician will discuss and help the lung cancer patient decide the best method of treatment for his current condition. The physician will consider the patient’s options based on several factors including the lung cancer patient’s physical condition at the time that his treatment is being considered. With close monitoring the physician will offer the best possible treatment for his patient.