Living with Lung Carcinoid Tumor

Lung carcinoid tumors are rare cancerous masses in the lungs comprised of neuroendocrine cells. They are divided into two types: typical and atypical. The majority of lung carcinoid tumors – approximately 90% – are typical, which grow slowly and seldom spread outside the lungs. Atypical lung carcinoid tumors grow more rapidly than typical carcinoids, and occur in only about 10% of cases. Only about 4,000 new cases of lung carcinoid tumors are diagnosed each year in the United States, and survival rates vary slightly depending on the tumor type and stage when it is discovered. However, both types are treatable: typical carcinoids have a five-year survival rate between 85 and 90%, and atypical carcinoids between 50 and 70%.

Unlike other cancers of the lungs, the risk of developing lung carcinoid tumors is not associated with tobacco use or other inhaled pollutants. However, they are more common in women than men and in Caucasians over minorities. Lung carcinoid tumors are often asymptomatic and only found when a patient undergoes testing for another ailment. When symptoms are present, they may include: coughing, wheezing, bloody phlegm, bronchial infection, or shortness of breath. The stages of lung carcinoid tumors range from zero to IV, depending tumor size and how widely it may have spread. Lung carcinoid tumor treatments include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of several of these.

For more information on lung carcinoid tumors, read the American Cancer Society's detailed guide.

If you have been affected by lung carcinoid tumors, please be sure to take some time to read others' experiences, share your own experiences, and ask or answer questions.

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