The lungs are a pair of cone-shaped breathing organs inside the chest. The lungs bring oxygen into the body when breathing in and send carbon dioxide out of the body when breathing out (National Cancer Institute).
Lung cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the lung. Lung cancer is the leading killer of both men and women in the U.S. and worldwide. It is an invasive cancer, affecting husbands and wives, friends and neighbors, and causing suffering for many families .The lung cancer mortality rate among women is increasing in many countries, according to a study by American Cancer Society researchers, in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention.
Types of lung cancer
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
This is the most common type of lung cancer. About 85% of lung cancers are non-small cell lung cancers. Squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma are all subtypes of non-small cell lung cancer.
Small Cell Lung Cancer
Small cell lung cancer is also called oat cell cancer. About 10%-15% of lung cancers are small cell lung cancers. This type of lung cancer tends to spread quickly.
Lung Carcinoid Tumor
Fewer than 5% of lung cancers are lung carcinoid tumors. They are also sometimes called lung neuroendocrine tumors. Most of these tumors grow slowly and rarely spread.
The exact cause of lung cancer is still being investigated. Certain risk factors have been shown to play a part in causing cells to become cancerous.
The following are risk factors for lung cancer:
- Cigarette, cigar, and pipe smoking
- Secondhand smoke (Passive smoking)
- Family history (genetics)
- HIV infection
- Environmental risk factors (Radiation exposure, Workplace exposure, Air pollution)
- Beta carotene supplements in heavy smokers
The following are protective factors for lung cancer:
- Not smoking
- Quitting smoking
- Lower exposure to workplace risk factors
- Lower exposure to radon
Unfortunately, lung cancers often have either no early symptoms or nonspecific early symptoms that people often dismiss. About 25% of people with lung cancer and no symptoms are diagnosed after having a chest X-ray or CT during a routine test or as a procedure for other problems. Lung cancer symptoms that may be detected are included below.
- Cough (chronic, recurrent)
- Weight loss
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
For the majority of lung cancers, prevention is possible if a person never smokes and avoids second-hand smoke. For smokers who quit — within 10 years — the risk of getting lung cancer drops to about the same risk as if they had never smoked. Avoiding other risk factors (for example, certain chemicals or compounds like benzene or asbestos or air pollution) may also prevent some people from developing lung cancers.
Surgery is most commonly used to treat non-small cell lung cancer and very early stage small cell lung cancer. It is done to either remove whole or part of lung that has cancerous cells. Lung surgery, or thoracotomy, is a procedure in which an incision is made on one side of the chest (thorax) to gain access to the lungs by spreading ribs apart.
Although surgery is the most important part of early stage cancer treatment as it involves removal of cancer cells from the organ, but thorough diagnosis and penetration range of cancer is carried out to decide appropriate candidature of patient for lung surgery.
In many advanced cases, surgery is combined with other cancer treatment options like chemotherapy, radiation therapy or hormone therapy to improve patient survival, quality of life and to help prevent cancer regrowth, spread and recurrence.
Article by: Edokita Team.
- American Cancer Society. 2016. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/lungcancer/
- Mayo Clinic.2015. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lung-cancer/basics/definition/con-20025531
Peter Crosta. 2015. World Medical News Today. http://ww