Lung cancer occurs when cells in the lungs change and start to grow rapidly and abnormally.
As the cells continue to grow, they create a tumor. Eventually, cancer may metastasize, or spread. There are two main kinds of cancer that occur in the lungs, non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. If you’re a family caregiver for an older adult with non-small cell lung cancer, knowing more about the disease can help you to be an even better caregiver.
Small Cell vs. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
One difference between small cell and non-small cell lung cancers has to do with the formation of the cells. As the name implies, the cancer cells in small cell lung cancer are little. They are round in shape. The cancer cells in non-small cell lung cancer are bigger. While the ways the cells look help doctors to diagnose the type of lung cancer a person has, the differences between the two types of cancer don’t stop there. Other differences are:
Non-small cell lung cancer is less aggressive than small cell lung cancer.
-Up to 85 percent of lung cancers are non-small cell.
-Small cell cancers respond more quickly to treatment, but often when they come back they are even more aggressive.
-Non-small cell lung cancer has a better survival rate.
-Symptoms of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
-When non-small cell lung cancer begins, the symptoms can be subtle, or they might be mistaken for a respiratory illness. Some of the symptoms are:
-Chest pain that feels worse when the person coughs, laughs or takes a deep breath.
-A cough that doesn’t go away or that gets worse.
-A change in the person’s voice, like hoarseness.
-A cough that produces blood or mucus.
-Feeling short of breath.
-Cancer that has spread to other areas of the body might cause:
-Pain in the bones.
-A feeling of weakness or numbness in a limb.
How can a caregiver help?
Though a diagnosis of lung cancer is difficult, home care can make life during treatment a little better and easier for both the older adult and their family caregivers. Home care can reduce some of the stress of having to take care of the senior while also balancing your work and your family. A home care provider can be with the older adult when you cannot. Home care providers can also help with many of the household tasks that may go undone while family members are busy with medical appointments and other issues.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering a Caregiver in Hillsboro, OR, please contact the caring staff at Integrity In-Home Care.
Call today (503) 660-3755