Primary lung cancer forms in the lungs, a pair of large organs in your chest that are part of your respiratory system.
When air enters your body through your nose or mouth, it passes through your windpipe (trachea), into your bronchi (large air tubes that begin at the end of the trachea), and then into your lungs.
Each time you breathe in, your lungs expand with air and remove the oxygen, so your blood can transport this life-giving gas throughout your body.
At the same time, your lungs also remove a gas called carbon dioxide from your blood. Carbon dioxide is produced when your body breaks down sugars, fats and amino acids to use for energy. When you breathe out, you exhale carbon dioxide.
Lung cancer usually forms when the cells lining the air passages begin growing abnormally. Doctors diagnose the type of lung cancer based on how the cells look under a microscope.
There are two main types: small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.
- Small Cell: This type of lung cancer affects about 1 out of every 8 people with lung cancer. The cells of small cell cancer appear smaller than most other cells.
- Non-small Cell: Most people diagnosed with lung cancer (about 7 out of every 8) have non-small cell lung cancer, which doesn't grow and spread as fast as small cell lung cancer.
Alta Bates Summit Medical Center offers lung cancer screening using low-dose computed tomography (LDCT), which has been clinically-proven to reduce lung cancer mortality in individuals at high-risk for lung cancer.
Low dose CT (LDCT) lung screening is a quick, safe and easy way to detect lung cancer early. The radiation of the scan is equivalent to a mammogram. All scans are reviewed and read by board-certified radiologists.
For information on current lung cancer clinical research programs, please visit The Jordan Research and Education Institute (REDI).