Understanding Case Data
Sample Case: 20-Year-Old Male with NCLC
Metastatic NCLC (non-small cell Lung cancer) is a fast spreading and invasive form of cancer which causes carcinomas to grown rapidly in and around lung tissue. NCLC is a rare disease for patients under the age of 40 and even rarer in patients with no history of tobacco use. Most patients who develop this disease are above the age of 40, are active smokers, or recently smokers. The morbidity rate for NCLC is high with being the number one cause of death in men over the age of 40 and for women over the age of 60 (Khan, Tong, & Karlin, 2010). The morbidity rates increase with age and with length of tobacco use. Tobacco is the leading cause of this disease in 90% of patients.
The symptoms of this disease include: chest pain, cough, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, shortness of breath, and wheezing. In later stages, bone pain, swelling of joints, changing voice, and weakness (Khan, Tong, & Karlin, 2010). Typically, due to the fast rate of growth and ignoring of early symptoms, NCLC is not diagnosed until the later stages.
This is a rare case of a 20 year old male who came to the doctor complaining about cough and back pain. Symptomology included 10 pounds of weight loss, constant cough, and consistent daily back pain. In early visits the patient was given a chest x-ray which revealed complete almost entire opacification of the right lung. The original physician treated the patient for pneumonia. MRI imaging was used which showed that the patient a mass in the upper right lung. Further imaging revealed and biopsy revealed the presence and advanced stages of NCLC . Having no history of smoking or known exposure to carcinogens known to cause this disease, the cause remains unknown.
Aggressive chemo therapy and surgical removal of infected lung tissue was not successful. In stage IV of the disease the cancer was infecting bones and organs. The patient died within six months due to the advanced stage of the disease.
The patient was well-supported throughout his treatment and subsequent passing.
This case study highlights the difficulty in diagnosing NCLC in young patients. The treatments available for NCLC are effective in early stages but because of the mild nature of the symptoms, NCLC often goes undetected until stage III and IV. At this point, the mortality rate is high with survival being less than 10% (Khan, Tong, & Karlin, 2010). This issue shows that further research is needed in the area of diagnosing NCLC in order to find better practices.
Khan, O., Tong, W. P., & Karlin, N. J. (2010). Metastatic lung adenocarcinoma in a 20-year-old patient. Current Oncology, 17(1), 56–58.
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash