What is Lung Cancer:
Lung cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the cells of the lungs. It occurs when normal lung cells undergo abnormal changes and start growing uncontrollably, forming a mass or tumour. Over time, these cancerous cells can invade and destroy healthy lung tissue and may also spread (metastasise) to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or lymphatic system.
There are two primary types of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC), with NSCLC being the more common type. The distinction between these two types is based on the appearance of cancer cells under a microscope and their behaviour.
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC):
NSCLC accounts for about 85% of all lung cancer cases. It includes several subtypes, with the most common ones being adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma. NSCLC tends to grow and spread more slowly compared to SCLC.
Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC):
SCLC is less common but tends to be more aggressive and fast-growing. It is strongly associated with smoking, and it usually starts in the bronchi (large airways) of the lungs and can spread to other areas of the lung and distant organs.
New Referrals: Patients requiring appointments in our Lung Clinic located in the Orchid Centre of the CUH Wilton Campus will need a referral from their GP. Your GP will determine based on your presenting signs and symptoms if a referral is required. In some cases patients may be called for a CT scan prior to meeting their consultant. If you are called for CT prior to meeting your consultant please do not worry as this would be a regular occurrence for many patients attending the to the lung clinic. Your referral will be reviewed by an expert consultant and an appropriate appointment will be made based on the information provided by your GP. You will be informed of your appointment by phone or post.
Diagnosing lung cancer typically involves a combination of imaging tests such as X-Ray, CT, MRI, biopsies, and PET scans. Once all relevant tests and exams have been carried out your information will be gathered and discussed as the Lung Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) meeting.
The Lung Cancer Multidisciplinary Team comprises a group of expert doctors, nurses and other health care professionals with a special interest in the diagnosis, treatment and management of people with lung cancer in Cork University Hospital.
The team meets on a weekly basis to discuss, in confidence, all newly referred patients with a diagnosis (or suspected diagnosis) of lung cancer.
This approach ensures that all necessary investigations are carried out as quickly as possible and an agreed programme of treatment is planned which is specific to the patient's needs. Treatment options are then discussed with the patient and their family at a subsequent outpatient appointment.
Treatment options for lung cancer depend on several factors, including the type and stage of cancer, the overall health of the patient, and their preferences. Lung cancer treatment often involves a combination of therapies. The main treatment options for lung cancer include:
- Surgery: Surgical removal of the tumor and surrounding lymph nodes is a common treatment for early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and some limited-stage small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Depending on the tumor's location and size, different surgical procedures may be performed, such as wedge resection, lobectomy, or pneumonectomy.
- Radiation Therapy: This treatment uses high-energy X-rays or other forms of radiation to kill or damage cancer cells. It can be used as the primary treatment for early-stage lung cancer, as adjuvant therapy after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells, or as palliative therapy to relieve symptoms in advanced cases.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to kill or inhibit the growth of cancer cells. It is often used in advanced-stage lung cancer or when cancer has spread to distant organs. It can also be used in combination with radiation therapy (chemoradiation) for certain cases.
- Targeted Therapy: Targeted therapies are drugs that specifically target and block specific proteins or pathways involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells. They are mostly used in cases of NSCLC with specific genetic mutations or alterations. Targeted therapy can be more effective and cause fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy.
- Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy works by stimulating the body's immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. It has shown significant promise in treating advanced NSCLC and is also used in some cases of SCLC.
- Clinical Trials: Clinical trials are research studies that test new treatments, drugs, or combinations of treatments to determine their safety and effectiveness. Participating in a clinical trial may offer patients access to novel therapies that are not yet widely available.
Meet the team:
- Dr . Michael Henry
- Professor. Marcus Kennedy
- Prof John Hinchion
- Mr. Kishore Dodukula
- Tara Ni Dhonnchu
- Dr. Dearbhaile Collins
- Dr Sinead Noonan
- Prof Derek Power
- Dr. Faisal Jamaluddin
- Dr. Carol McGibney
- Ms Pauline O Dea
- Ms Grainne Twomey
- Ms Noreen Lyons
- Ms Doris Humphries