Lung Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that start in either one lung or both. They do not develop into healthy lung tissue but rather, divide rapidly and form a tumour. As the tumour increases, it affects the ability to provide oxygen in the blood stream which needless to say, decreases the oxygen level in blood.
Lung cancer can strike people at any age, including children although it is more common in elderly people.
Types of Lung Cancer
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC): it is the most common type of lung cancer. It spreads and grows slowly than SCLC. It begins in the cells that form the lining of the lung and can spread without destroying other tissues. There are also subtypes of it which differ from cell to cell. It accounts almost 80%-85% of cases of lung cancer.
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC): as the name suggests, it occurs in small cells. It is more common amongst women having a long history of smoking. SCLC divides quickly and spreads rapidly throughout the body. SCLC is associated with heavy smoking. It accounts for almost 15% of all the cases of lung cancer.
– Smoking: Smoking is the single biggest risk factor for lung cancer. Using other tobacco products such as cigars or pipes also increases the risk for lung cancer. This is because tobacco contains more than 60 different toxic substances, which can lead to the development of cancer.
– Passive smoking: Even if you don’t smoke, frequent exposure to other people’s tobacco smoke can increase your chances of developing lung cancer.
– Randon gas: Randon is a colourless, tasteless gas occurring naturally as a decay product of radium. Exposure to radon can cause lung cancer. It can mix with soil and enter homes through the foundation, pipes drain and other openings.
– Air pollution: Long time exposure to the pollutants from vehicles, industries or power plants can also increase the risk of lung cancer.
– Heredity: Genetics also play a crucial role in this, since, all smokers do not eventually develop lung cancer. People who inherit certain genes, like genes that interfere with DNA repair, may be at greater risk for several types of cancer.
Signs and symptoms
– Pain in chest or ribs shoulder or outside of arm
– Coughing ( chronic, dry, phlegm or with blood)
– Difficulty swallowing or loss of appetite
– Frequent respiratory infections
– Shortness of breath
– Wheezing ( can be caused by tumour pressing on an airway)
Almost 25% of people show no symptoms before they are diagnosed and their cancer is usually found by x-ray or CT scan done for other various reasons.
Signs or symptoms of lung cancer can take years to appear and are sometimes confused with signs of other conditions. So, you still need to worry if there are no symptoms and you are a frequent smoker or exposed to pollutants. After all, diagnosing cancer early can help save lives.
– Africans or African American people had the highest rate of getting lung cancer, followed by white, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Hispanic people.
– It is the second most common cancer in men and women. Most women die of lung cancer than of breast cancer.
Cancer treatment plan is based on a number of factors such as overall health, the stage you are at, type of cancer you have and, your preferences. It can be treated if detected early enough. Lung tumours change as they grow, thereby making it harder to treat. Following are the common treatment plans:
– Photodynamic therapy
– Symptom control treatment
Lungs are one of the most hard working organs of our body. They provide oxygen to each and every part of our body and expel carbon-di-oxide. Our lungs are very important for our survival and there is no replacement for that. So why damage our lung? Why hurt them when all they do is keep us alive and healthy? Encourage smokers in your life to quit. Because in this case, Quitters always win.