Lung Cancer – What is it, Causes and Treatments!

Lung Cancer – What it is, Causes and Treatments of this condition. In addition, lung cancer develops when lung cells multiply abnormally, forming a mass (tumor) that grows destructively and invades normal tissues.

Cancer can start in various parts of the lung , such as the large air passages (bronchi), lower branches of the airways (bronchioles), or small air sacs (alveoli). Lung cancer is especially lethal when it has spread (metastasized) to distant sites in the body, such as the brain, bone and liver. Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death  for both men and women.

Causes of Lung Cancer: Lung cancer can develop greatly when related to smoking , approximately 90% of lung cancer cases are attributable to tobacco use. Smoking from pipes and cigars can also cause Lung Cancer , but the risk is not as high as smoking .

Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemical compounds, many of which are carcinogens (carcinogens). Secondhand smoke, that is, the inhalation of tobacco smoke by non-smokers who live or work with smokers, is also an established risk factor for the development of Lung Cancer .

Although most lung cancers  are linked to smoking , not all smokers go on to develop Lung Cancer suggesting that genetic susceptibility (i.e. family history) may play a role in the development of Lung Cancer . Other causes of Lung Cancer include air pollution (from vehicles, industry and power generation) and inhalation of asbestos fibers (usually in the workplace).

Symptoms of Lung Cancer: The main symptom of Lung Cancer is coughing. If someone with chronic bronchitis ends up developing Lung Cancer , the cough due to bronchitis will get  worse. Cancer can grow in blood vessels and cause blood to be coughed up in phlegm. It can also grow or put pressure on the bronchi, making them narrower and allowing the patient to breathe.

Cancer can grow in the chest wall, causing chest pain. It can also cause pneumonia, with symptoms of cough, fever, chest pain, and shortness of breath. People with advanced Lung Cancer lose their appetite, feel weak, and lose weight.

Lung cancer can spread to parts of the body near the lungs  or to other parts of the body such as the liver, brain, and bones, causing pain. It can also grow and block the veins leading from the upper body to the heart. This syndrome, called superior vena cava syndrome, causes blood in the veins of the face, neck and upper chest to back up and the veins to swell.

Cancer can cause fluid to fill the  sacs that surround the heart or lung , making it very difficult to breathe. Cancer cells can also press on the lung , causing it to collapse, or on the spinal cord (spinal cord), causing pain or loss of nerve function. Some types of cancer  also release hormones that can affect the body’s metabolism.

Lung Cancer Diagnoses: Asymptomatic high-risk patients can be screened with a low-dose computed tomography (LDCT), an imaging test used to detectearly-stage lung cancer and reduce the chance of dying from the disease.

Diagnostic Test: Most Lung Cancer patients develop symptoms late in the disease. When symptoms arise, various tests are performed to confirm the diagnosis.

  • Chest X-ray provides a basic picture of the lungs .
  • Computed tomography (CT) of the chest provides more detailed images than a chest X-ray.
  • Sputum cytology is a test that detects cancer cells in the secretions of the respiratory tract.
  • Biopsies are usually obtained during a bronchoscopy, a procedure in which a flexible instrument with a camera is passed through the mouth and trachea into the lungs , and samples of lung tissue are removed for examination under a microscope.
  • When enlarged lymph nodes are present, a lymph node biopsy is performed to check for cancer .
  • When the membrane (pleura) around the lung  accumulates excess fluid (pleural effusion), a procedure called thoracentesis is performed to drain and test the fluid for cancer .

Lung Cancer Treatments: Treating Lung Cancer requires a team approach. Surgical oncologists are surgeons who specialize in removing cancers.

Thoracic surgeons or general surgeons can also surgically treat lung cancers . Medical and radiation oncologists are experts in treating cancer  with drugs and radiation therapy, respectively.

Other specialists who may be involved in the care of people with lung cancer include pain and palliative care specialists, as well as lung specialists  (medical pulmonologists).

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