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Lung Cancer Screening Specialist

Walter J. Willoughby, Jr., M.D.

Pulmonologist & Sleep Specialist located in Las Vegas, NV

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in men and women. Walter J. Willoughby, Jr., MD, has extensive experience helping patients receive optimal treatment for their lung cancer. Dr. Willoughby is also available to determine whether you’re eligible for lung cancer screening and to help smokers lower their risk of developing cancer. To schedule an appointment, use online booking or call the office in Las Vegas.

Lung Cancer Q & A

What are the different types of lung cancer?

There are two primary types of lung cancer:

  • Non-small cell lung cancer, which represents 80-85% of all cases of lung cancer
  • Small cell lung cancer, which accounts for 10-15% of all cases

A third type, called lung carcinoid tumors, is uncommon and different from the other two types, because it’s not directly caused by smoking.

What causes lung cancer?

Smoking is the primary cause of lung cancer. The tar and formaldehyde found in tobacco smoke get inside cells in your lungs, where they damage DNA and interfere with the cell’s normal growth. As a result, the affected cells begin to rapidly grow, creating cancerous tumors.

In addition to DNA damage, tobacco smoke also causes inflammation in your lungs, which accelerates tumor growth. Ongoing exposure to smoke continues to increase your risk of developing lung cancer.

Although it’s less common, nonsmokers can also develop lung cancer. You may be at risk for the disease if you inhale secondhand smoke, radon, asbestos, and other cancer-causing substances in the workplace.

What symptoms develop due to lung cancer?

The symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • A cough that doesn’t go away or worsens
  • Chest pain that’s worse when you breathe, cough, or laugh
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing up blood
  • Hoarseness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Wheezing

You may also have lung cancer if you have lung infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, that keep recurring or won’t heal.

How is lung cancer diagnosed and treated?

Several tests are used to diagnose lung cancer, starting with imaging tests. For lung cancer screening, Dr. Willoughby refers you to a radiology center for a low-dose CT scan.

When your results are ready, he reviews the results with you. If your CT scan shows a potential tumor, the next step is a biopsy, and if that’s positive for cancer, you’ll receive additional imaging tests to stage the cancer. When staging is finished, Dr. Willoughby talks with you about your treatment options.

The approach to treatment is different for each individual, depending on the type and stage of their lung cancer. Dr. Willoughby may recommend any combination of surgery, radiofrequency ablation, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, or targeted therapy.

If you have a cough, chest pain, or shortness of breath, schedule an appointment online or call Walter J. Willoughby, Jr., MD.