What is Lung Cancer? Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the U.S. population and the western world. Lung cancer was once the leading cause of cancer death in men only Americans, but since 1988 working men and women that cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women. More than 170,000 cases of lung cancer were diagnosed in the United States each year. Many people are less fortunate cured of this terrible disease. Approximately 157,000 people die as a direct result of lung cancer.

Mortality associated with lung cancer is greater than the combined mortality of mothers and others, third (prostate cancer) and fourth (colon), the most common cause of death from cancer. If we as a Boeing 747 daily rainfall, and all the passengers who died answer? This is what happened with lung cancer. Around 430 people a day die from lung cancer.

Despite the high rate of mortality from lung cancer, lung cancer receives far less attention than other cancers, especially breast cancer. Lung cancer research will receive less money, and the public to be much less interest in lung cancer. Although lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women, very little research and scientific progress in the field of lung cancer.

Part of the problem related to funding for cancer research is the fact that so much to lobby for survivors of cancer caused by lung cancer. High mortality associated with lung cancer leaves few survivors are fighting for their cause, and even those who do not experience much happiness in good health, the worst-affected patients who have undergone extensive removal of the lungs.

There is also space related lung cancer. Unlike many other forms of cancer, lung cancer risk associated with smoking. Many men who treat patients with cancer and patients believe that illness is a direct result of the work, gives them a sense of guilt for patients with lung cancer sensitive to the debt. These actions against any program to obtain funds to focus on lung cancer where people subconsciously believe that cancer is a disease that these patients have led to it.

To understand that, recall that the cell is the basic building block of all life. The software inside the cell that controls every aspect of it is the DNA – the blueprint that determines everything including the type of cell, its life cycle, reproductive pattern and all else. Normally, the cells grow and divide in an orderly manner producing new cells to replace the older ones that are at the end of their life cycle. Sometimes, however, this orderly progression is disturbed.

This happens because the DNA in the cells gets damaged. In most cases, this damage is because of problems while dividing into new cells. But DNA can also get damaged by other factors like carcinogenic substances, radiation, smoking and other causes. In all the above cases, the DNA is said to mutate.

Cells with mutant DNA may (though not always) have their life cycle and reproductive pattern thrown out of gear. Instead of going through its normal life stages, maturing and dying, the cells may reproduce in an unchecked fashion. This condition, where abnormal cells reproduce in an uncontrolled manner is the essence of lung cancer and every other type of cancer. It can adversely affect the organ / body part where the malignant reproduction is taking place and spread to other parts of the body as well. The latter process is called metastasizing.

Lung cancer is generally more dangerous than other cancers for a couple of reasons. The first is that lung cancer tends to metastasize at early stages. That means, even before the cancer has been detected, it may have spread its malignant tentacles to other parts of the body. So that leaves little time to fight it effectively. The second problem is that although it can spread to practically any body part, lung cancer often metastasizes to highly critical body organs including the brain, liver, bones and adrenal glands.

What is Lung Cancer

The Causes of Lung Cancer:

The causes of lung cancer are still not completely understood. However, several factors are known to significantly increase the risk of developing the disease. This article takes a look at some of these factors. This is one of the leading causes of lung cancer. There is a very strong connection between smoking and lung cancer. It is established beyond any reasonable doubt that smoking increases the risk of lung cancer (and many other cancers as well.)

Smoking: It is estimated that if someone smokes two or more packs of cigarettes per day, he or she has about a one in seven chance of going down with lung cancer. If that person smokes only one pack each day, his risk of getting lung cancer is still as much as twenty five times that of someone who doesn’t smoke. Cigar and pipe smokers are no better off – they run five times the risk of getting of lung cancer as compared to non-smokers.

Smoking has been shown to create real damage in lung cells. As the total number of cigarettes smoked during a lifetime increases, so does the risk of developing cancer. The good news is, from the time a person quits smoking, the lungs begin a process of repairing the damage. The lungs actively replace unhealthy cells with healthy ones that are capable of functioning well. As a result, the risk of developing lung cancer decreases almost immediately from the time smoking stops. And the odds keep dropping further with each smoke-free year. It is estimated that by year 15, the odds drop to a level comparable to that of a person who never smoked.

That’s what second hand tobacco smoke is officially called. This is the smoke inhaled by people who are around others who smoke. This phenomenon is also called passive smoking and is among the major causes of lung cancer. Research shows that living in a house with a smoker gives all the non-smokers a roughly twenty four percent greater chance of developing lung cancer when compared to people who are not exposed to second hand smoke.

Asbestos: Asbestos used to be a popular construction material during the last century till the 1960s. It is quite well known that asbestos is another of the causes of lung cancer – it gives rise to mesothelioma. This is a type of cancer that affects the pleural lining in the human lungs. Asbestos does its damage because it splits into tiny fibers of silica. These fibers get trapped within the lungs. Mesothelioma occurs only in people who are exposed to asbestos and almost never in those who are not exposed to it. In non-smokers, asbestos exposure is estimated to increase risk of lung cancer by a factor of five. Smokers who come into contact with asbestos face a fifty to ninety times higher risk of cancer.

Lung Cancer Signs and Symptoms:

According to some estimates, lung cancer causes almost one third of all cancer related deaths in the developed world. As you might suspect, a great deal of attention is being focused on the symptoms of lung cancer, with the intention of detecting the disease early to improve chances of successful treatment. This article will explore the key indicators of this disease and other related issues.

Here are some of the symptoms of lung cancer you should look out for:

  • A persistent chough that doesn’t get cured and worsens over time
  • Pain in the chest that does not go away
  • Fatigue while doing normal work
  • Loss of weight and/or loss of appetite
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the lower neck and upper chest region
  • Pain in the shoulder, weakening of hand muscles with Headache and Dizziness – Pancoast’s syndrome*
  • Swollen face
  • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Repeated episodes of pneumonia or bronchitis
  • Blood in the sputum while coughing
  • Change in voice quality; hoarse voice

Remember that while the above symptoms are present in many cases of lung cancer, exhibiting some of they does not necessarily mean the person has the disease. The fact is; these symptoms can be brought on by a wide range of other health conditions as well.

Conversely, as much as 25% of all detected cases are said to show none of the symptoms of lung cancer! In such cases, the disease is usually discovered when the person has a chest x-ray or CT scan done during a routine health checkup. The only sign present at that stage may be a small tumor in the lung. The lung cancer may be at an early stage and if so, it may be possible to treat it successfully.

Lung cancer can spread silently showing no symptoms at all for a long time. If the disease reaches an advanced stage, it becomes difficult to treat or control. That is why early detection is critical to ensure successful treatment. Some doctors are of the opinion that a chest x-ray should be a part of periodic routine checkups.

Apart from looking for the common symptoms of lung cancer, the doctor will usually check out the patient’s medical history, including whether he or she used to smoke. They also look into environmental and occupational factors including exposure to hazardous substances like asbestos, radiation exposure, etc. A family history of lung or other cancers may increase chances of developing this disease.

Lung cancer can be doubly dangerous because it can spread to other parts of the body, including the brain, liver and bones. If it affects the brain, it can cause seizures, nausea and headaches. Cancer that has spread to the liver can result in jaundice or stomach pain.

The lungs are vital organs necessary for the healthy functioning of the rest of the body and damage to the lungs can result in death. Greater awareness of the symptoms of lung cancer can help by promoting early detection and treatment.

You have cancer.” That’s one of the most terrifying things anyone can hear from a doctor. It makes no difference whether it is lung cancer or any other kind of cancer. It is almost like being handed a death sentence, although many cancers can be treated successfully and need not affect life expectancy.

Where does lung cancer originate? In approximately 90% of patients, it starts in the epithelial lining within the lungs. Epithelial lining is the name given to linings of the airways that are responsible for extracting oxygen from the air drawn into the lungs.

Another kind of lung cancer called mesothelioma originates in the tissue surrounding the lungs (called the pleura.) Exposure to asbestos is the leading cause of mesothelioma. Cancer can also originate in the supportive tissues around the lungs or in the blood vessels in the lungs. These cancers form only a small percentage of the total. It is often possible to treat lung cancer with a high degree of success provided it is diagnosed early. Because of this fact, methods for early detection get a lot of emphasis in dealing this killer disease.

Lung Cancer Treatment Option:

The kind of lung cancer treatment a patient receives depends on a number of factors. They include the overall health of the patient, the location of the cancer, its size, type, the extent to which it has spread to other body organs and more. In general, there are five different kinds lung cancer treatment. Surgery and chemotherapy are widely known options, as is radiation treatment. Other treatments include cryosurgery and photodynamic therapy (abbreviated PDT.)

Surgery may be a good lung cancer treatment option in the early stages. This is particularly true of non-small cell lung cancer. If the size of the malignant tumor is fairly small and the cancer has not metastasized (i.e., spread to other parts of the body), surgical removal can mean that the patient has a 80% chance of surviving beyond five years.

It is characteristic of small-cell lung cancer that it spreads quickly to other parts of the body even before it becomes focused in the lung. In such cases, surgery is of no use. The more common type of cancer – non-small cell lung cancer – does not usually spread as fast or as much as the small-cell variety. The tumor tends to be concentrated in one small area. In such cases, surgery can be used with success.

There are other factors too, that determine the lung cancer treatment chosen. Even with a localized tumor, if it is located very close to critical organs like the heart, surgery may not be advisable because of other risks involved. Chemotherapy may be the prescribed option in those instances.

There are three types of surgery used for treatment. If the cancer is truly localized and has affected only a small part of the lung, the surgeon may do a segmentectomy (also known as lung resection.) This removes only a small part of a lung. A second option is a lobectomy. This is done where the lung cancer has spread somewhat and one part of the lung has been affected, even though the entire lung has not been damaged. In such cases, the surgeon may remove one or a few lobes of the lung.

If an entire lung has been affected by the cancer, the surgeon may look at doing a pneumonectomy, which is removal of a complete lung. Before doing this operation, the surgeon will do extensive testing to make sure the one lung remaining can supply the body’s needs well. Overall, surgery may not necessarily be the best lung cancer treatment in all cases. The doctor will opt for surgery only if there is a good chance that doing so will get rid of the cancer completely.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *