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Diagnosis / Lung Cancer

There are three main types of lung cancer. Knowing which type you have is important because it will dictate your treatment option and expected prognosis.

  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer – the most common type of lung cancer, occurs in 85% of cases. Squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma are all subtypes of non-small cell lung cancer.
  • Small Cell Lung Cancer – also known as oat cell cancer, occurs in 10 – 15% of cases. Tends to spread quickly.
  • Lung Carcinoid Tumor – rare, occurs in fewer than 5% of lung cancers. Also sometimes referred to as lung neuroendocrine tumors, they tend to grow slowly and rarely spread.

Risk Factors for Lung Cancer

  • Tobacco Use – smoking causes 80-85% of lung cancer in the United States. The risk increases with the number of years and packs per day the person smoked.
  • Radon – an invisible, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that occurs naturally in soil and rocks. Exposure to radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in people who have never smoked.
  • Asbestos – a mineral fiber that has been used in the manufacturing of many products over decades, including insulation and tiles. Asbestos exposure increases the risk of lung cancer and also of developing mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of organs that can start in the lungs but also the abdomen, heart and chest.
  • Secondhand Smoke (Passive Smoking) – ongoing exposure to smoke from other people’s tobacco use can increase lung cancer risk by 20-30%.
  • Military Service – increased smoking prevalence and chemical exposure rates.
  • Age – average age for diagnosis in the U.S. is 70 years of age.
  • Occupational Carcinogens – environmental and industrial chemicals.
  • Beta Carotene – the use of beta carotene supplements has been found to increase the number of lung cancer diagnoses.
  • Existing Pulmonary Diagnosis – emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthma may increase lung cancer risk by 50-100%.
  • Family History – studies suggest that adults who have a had a fully related parent or sibling with lung cancer, especially one who was diagnosed before age 50 or who have multiple relatives with the diagnosis are at increased risk.

Lung Cancer Symptoms

Often times lung cancer has no symptoms until it has spread to other areas of the body (metastasized). When lung cancer symptoms do present, they vary depending on the type of lung cancer and the size and location of the tumor.

Local Disease

  • Coughing
  • Blood in sputum
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Pain in chest
  • Fatigue
  • Pneumonia

Locally Advanced Disease

  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty or pain when swallowing
  • Wheezing
  • Excess fluid in the lining of the lung (pleural effusion)
  • Excess fluid in the lining of the heart (pericardial effusion)

Test to Diagnose Lung Cancer

There are a number of tests your doctor may order to look for cancerous cells and to rule out other conditions.

  • Imaging – an x-ray image of your lungs may reveal an abnormal mass or nodule. A CT scan can reveal small lesions in your lungs that might not be detected on x-ray alone.
  • Sputum Cytology – if you have a cough and are producing sputum, looking at the sputum under the microscope can sometimes reveal the presence of lung cancer cells.
  • Tissue Sample (Biopsy) – a sample of abnormal cells may be removed in a procedure called a biopsy.

IVC’s Treatments for Lung Cancer

You and your doctor will choose a cancer treatment plan based on a number of factors, including your overall health, your diagnosis, and your preferences.

At IVC, we offer percutaneous thermal ablation for treatment of lung tumors. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA), microwave ablation (MWA) and cyroablation are minimally invasive procedures that use extreme heat or cold to destroy tumors.

Call IVC today at 503-612-0498 to schedule an appointment for a consultation.

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We are announcing that Interventional and Vascular Consultants will be closing as of March 10, 2023.

We would like to thank you for the trust you have given us over the years, participating in your healthcare needs has been a privilege.

To assist in a smooth transition to a new provider, you may access your records from your MyHealth account or request a copy of medical records by clicking the link below and completing the Release of Information form.

Medical Records Release Form

Please know that we have greatly valued our relationship with you and wish you the best.


Jason Bauer, MD RVT
Michael Pfister, MD RVT

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