Medical Q&As

Adenocarcinoma of the lung - prognosis?

What is adenocarcinoma of the lung? My brother has had one removed from each lung. What would the prognosis of such a cancer be? He is 40 years old and has never smoked.

Adenocarcinoma belongs to the non-small cell category of lung cancers. Lung cancers are divided into two categories, small cell lung cancer and non-small lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer is also known as an oat cell cancer because of its appearance under the microscope. Small cell cancer has usually spread beyond the lung at the time of diagnosis. Therefore treatment of such cancers is usually restricted to chemotherapy, with or without radiation therapy. Non-small cell cancers have usually not spread at the time of diagnosis therefore resection, or surgical removal is usually possible. An adenocarcinoma usually occurs as a solitary mass or nodule and is often located on the surface of the lung. The prognosis for adenocarcinoma of the lung depends on the stage of the disease. Staging is classified by T stage, which describes the characteristics of the actual tumour; N stage, which indicates if local lymph nodes have been invaded and M stage, which indicates if the cancer has spread beyond the lung. It is then possible to score each of the TNM stages and a total score can be calculated. Using this system the physician is able to make a prediction of the likely outcome for a particular patient. Another vital consideration with regard to your brotherís prognosis is his general state of health.