ALK Positive Lung Cancer: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
ALK positive lung cancer is lung cancer that occurs when there is a gene mutation anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK). Check out a full explanation of the symptoms and how to treat it in the following review
What is ALK Positive Lung Cancer?
Lung cancer itself is divided into sub-cancers, one of which is ALK-positive lung cancer. In general, lung cancer actually consists of 2 (two) types, namely:
- Small cell lung cancer (small cell lung cancer).
- Non-small cell lung cancer (non-small cell lung cancer).
Now, ALK positive lung cancer occurs in people who have a type of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and belongs to the rare category.
Symptoms of ALK Positive Lung Cancer
The following are the characteristics of positive ALK lung cancer that you need to know and be aware of:
- Prolonged cough.
- Hard to breathe.
- Bleeding cough.
- The voice turned hoarse.
- Sudden headache.
- Appears bronchitis or pneumonia.
- Weight has decreased.
- Loss of appetite.
- Chest pain bone pain.
- Swelling on the surface of the skin.
- Discoloration of the skin and eyes to yellowish.
If you are already experiencing one or more of the symptoms as above, medical treatment must be carried out immediately before the condition gets worse.
Also Read: 12 Symptoms of Early Stage Lung Cancer to Watch Out for
Causes of ALK Positive Lung Cancer
ALK positive lung cancer is caused by a gene mutation anaplastic lymphoma kinase, namely the gene whose job is to control the body in producing proteins that will later help the body’s cells to ‘communicate’ with each other.
A positive ALK is the development of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This means that this cancer occurs in patients with lung cancer who have entered an advanced stage. Therefore, the cause of this cancer is also related to the cause of lung cancer itself.
Positive ALK Lung Cancer Risk Factors
The following are factors that can increase the risk of this type of lung cancer, including:
- Exposure to smoke (non-smoking).
- Exposure to radon gas.
- Carcinogen exposure.
- Gene mutations due to aging.
- Have a family member with a history of the same disease.
- History of cancer therapy.
In addition to the factors above, there may be other cancer-causing factors that have not been mentioned. Therefore, routine medical check-ups need to be done to monitor all forms of risk from this deadly disease.
Positive ALK Lung Cancer Diagnosis
In detecting this disease, doctors need to carry out a series of examination procedures to confirm the condition as well as determine the next steps for treatment.
Some of the tests that can be done include:
1. Imaging Method
Lung cancer can also spread to other parts of the body. In cases of positive ALK cancer, these cancer cells can spread to the brain.
As an initial identification, the doctor will use imaging techniques such as a CT scan, PET scan, bone scan, or MRI, to get more detailed results and detect whether the cancer is lodged elsewhere.
The doctor can do a test called fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), namely tissue sampling to determine whether there is an ALK gene mutation that occurs. The tissue sample will then be analyzed in the laboratory.
If this procedure, which is also called a lung tissue biopsy, is positive, other tests will determine the type of cancer and how far it has spread. Nearby lymph nodes can be tested for cancer cells with a procedure called mediastinoscopy.
In addition, cancer diagnosis is also carried out by carrying out other examination methods such as:
- Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA).
Also Read: Various Types of Examination to Detect Lung Cancer
ALK Positive Lung Cancer Treatment
In positive ALK cases, medical treatment generally includes targeted therapy.
Target therapy is a method of treating cancer by administering drugs which focus on specific abnormalities present in cancer cells. By blocking these abnormalities, targeted drug treatments can cause cancer cells to die.
Many targeted therapy drugs are used to treat lung cancer, but in this type of patient, the types of drugs used are as follows:
The drugs above are none other than inhibitor class drugs (inhibitors) mutations in the ALK gene. The use of these drugs generally only aims to improve the quality of life of cancer patients, not to completely cure cancer.
Generally, patients are asked to take this drug 2 times a day. The use of drugs can be done within a period of several years, depending on needs.
However, this therapy only works in people whose cancer cells have certain genetic mutations. Your cancer cells may be tested in a laboratory to see if this drug helps.
ALK Positive Lung Cancer Prevention
This cancer can be prevented as long as you adopt a healthy lifestyle and avoid triggering factors. The following are some tips that can be done to prevent it:
- Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Avoid exposure to radon gas.
- Use a face mask when you want to do outdoor activities.
- Eat lots of vegetables and fruits rich in antioxidants.
- Regular exercise.
- Arbor, K and Gregory, J. 2012. Diagnosis and Treatment of ALK Positive NSCLC. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5154547/. (Accessed December 16, 2019)
- Eldridge, L. 2019. ALK Positive Lung Cancer Overview and Treatment. https://www.verywellhealth.com/alk-positive-lung-cancer-definition-and-treatment-2248944. (Accessed December 16, 2019)
- Stage IV Lung Cancer with ALK Rearrangement. https://www.webmd.com/lung-cancer/faq-stage-four-lung-cancer-with-alk. (Accessed December 16, 2019)
DoctorHealthy | © 2023 PT Media Kesehatan Indonesia. Copyright Protected