Lung cancer is the second most common form of cancer among men and the fourth most common one among women. In all of Finland, the annual number of new cases of lung cancer is around 2,300 and in the hospital district of Southwest Finland around 200. Cancer of the pleura (the lining of the outside of lungs and the inside of the chest cavity) is called mesothelioma. The most common cause for mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos.
The diagnostic work-up if lung cancer is suspected is carried out at the pulmonary diseases outpatient clinic at Tyks. Lung cancer is often first seen on chest radiographs and a detailed image is taken by computed tomography. The type of cancer is established by examination of a biopsy (tissue sample of the tumour). Once the exact type of lung cancer is known, the appropriate, type-specific treatment may be instituted. The outcome of the treatment plan depends on the type of cancer and how widely it has spread, the patient's general condition, age and concomitant illnesses. This is why patients with the same cancer may have different treatment plans. The treatment plan for patients with lung cancer is designed by a specialist team involving a chest physician, radiation therapist and pulmonary surgeon. If chemotherapy and biological drugs are needed, they are administered by a chest physician.
The most common cause of lung cancer is smoking. It is also possible, although quite rare, that a non-smoker gets lung cancer. There may be factors in the personas working and living environment which increase the risk of lung cancer, e.g., asbestos.