Unusual Cancers of the Chest
Anatomy of the respiratory system, showing the trachea and both lungs and their lobes and airways. Lymph nodes and the diaphragm are also shown. Oxygen is inhaled into the lungs and passes through the thin membranes of the alveoli and into the bloodstream (see inset).
Symptoms and Diagnostic and Staging Tests
Bronchial tumors may cause any of the following signs and symptoms:
Other conditions that are not bronchial tumors may cause these same symptoms. For example, symptoms of bronchial tumors are a lot like the symptoms of asthma, and that can make it hard to diagnose the tumor.
Tests that examine the bronchi and lungs are used to diagnose and stage bronchial tumors. They may include:
- Physical exam and history.
- X-ray of the chest.
- CT scan.
See the General Information section for a description of these tests and procedures.
A biopsy of the abnormal area is usually not done because it can cause severe bleeding.
Other tests used to diagnose bronchial tumors include the following:
- Bronchoscopy: A procedure to look inside the trachea and large airways in the lung for abnormal areas. A bronchoscope is inserted through the nose or mouth into the trachea and lungs. A bronchoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue samples, which are checked under a microscope for signs of cancer. A contrast dye may be put through the bronchoscope to make the larynx, trachea, and airways show up clearer on x-ray film.
- Octreotide scan: A type of radionuclide scan used to find tumors. A small amount of radioactive octreotide (a hormone that attaches to carcinoid tumors) is injected into a vein and travels through the bloodstream. The radioactive octreotide attaches to the tumor and a special camera that detects radioactivity is used to show where the tumors are in the body.
Bronchial cancer in children can usually be cured, even when it has spread to nearby areas. The prognosis (chance of recovery) depends on how the cells look under a microscope and the stage of the cancer.
Treatment of bronchial tumors in children may include the following:
- Surgery to remove the tumor. Sometimes a type of surgery called a sleeve resection is used. The lymph nodes and vessels where cancer has spread are also removed.
- Chemotherapy or radiation therapy, for cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
Pleuropulmonary blastomas (PPBs) form in the tissue of the lung and pleura (tissue that covers the lungs and lines the inside of the chest). PPBs can also form in the organs between the lungs including the heart, aorta, and pulmonaryartery, or in the diaphragm (the main breathing muscle below the lungs).