Dr. Sanderson describes the two main forms of lung cancer and discusses if lung cancer is a fatal disease.
Lung cancer generally is looked at by its pathologic appearance and we classify it into small cell lung cancer and no-small cell lung cancer. Within the group of non-small cell cancer there are further subdivisions into adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma, but generally we talk about small cell and non-small cell carcinoma and they behave differently and they are treated differently.
Well, we are all going to die, we’re all going to die eventually and lung cancer is responsible for premature death in about 85 percent of those who develop it. Having said that, about 15 percent of all patients diagnosed with lung cancer can, in fact, be cured. That doesn’t seem very encouraging but when you look at the overall numbers and it’s predicted that this year there’s going to be about 215,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer, about 100,000 of those are women and overall, if there’s just a 15 percent survival, that’s discouraging but overall that means that there are about 25,000 individuals who are going to be cured of their cancer.
About Dr. Sanderson, M.D.:
Dr. David R. Sanderson, M.D., practices at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, specializing in pulmonary care. Dr. Sanderson attended the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. He completed his residency and fellowship at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.