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Lung cancer refers to a condition which results in cancer of the lungs. Smoking increases the chances of lung cancer. Even when individuals have quit smoking, the increased vulnerability to developing lung cancer is still there.

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Symptoms of lung cancer

  • A new cough that refuses to go away
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Wheezing
  • Bone pain
  • Pain in the chest
  • Inexplicable loss of weight
  • Coughing up blood
  • Vocal hoarseness

Causes of Lung cancer

Lung cancer is primarily caused due to smoking. One can develop lung cancer even via second hand smoke. The cells lining the lungs are damaged by the carcinogens that are present in cigarette smoke. With time these cells become damaged and result in the development of cancer

Individuals who have a family history of lung cancer; who have been exposed to asbestos, radon gas and other chemicals and those who have other smoking related lung diseases are at greater risk to develop lung cancer

Treatment for lung cancer

Lung cancer can be treated in the following ways:

  • Surgery, wherein the affected portion of the lung is removed. Lung transplantation may also be done in cases of severe lung cancer
  • Radiation therapy, wherein extreme rays of radiation are targeted at the tumors to destroy them
  • Chemotherapy, wherein special drugs that are designed to specifically kill the cancer cells, are administered intravenously
  • There are several other methods to treat lung cancer and targeted drug therapy is one of them.

Lung cancer survival rate

Lung cancer is the leading cause of death in the United States as compared to other cancers such as breast, colon and prostate cancer. Also, lung cancer causes more deaths in the United States as compared to the rest of the world. Most lung cancer cases have a low survival rate, due to the near impossibility of curing the condition. Men are at greater risk to developing lung cancer than women.

The survival rate for lung cancer depends on the type of cancer that is diagnosed as well as the stage at which it is diagnosed. The overall survival rates for lung cancer patients regardless of the above two factors are listed below:

  • 15 % of lung cancer patients will survive for a period of five years after diagnosis
  • 5 % of lung cancer patients will survive for a period of ten years after diagnosis

The survival rates as per the stage of lung cancer are as follows:

Stage Survival Rates
Stage 0 70-80%
Stage I 50%
Stage II 30%
Stage III 15%
Stage IV Less than 2%

Individuals who have been diagnosed with non small cell lung cancer have a better survival rate than those patients who have been diagnosed with small cell lung cancer

The survival rate for non small cell lung cancer patients as per the stage of diagnosis are as follows:

Stage Survival Rates
Stage IA 49%
Stage IB 45%
Stage IIA 30%
Stage IIB 31%
Stage IIIA 14%
Stage IIIB 5% (median survival of thirteen months)
Stage IV 1% (median survival of 8 months)

Small cell lung cancer patients have a six percent survival rate of five years after diagnosis. An early diagnosis may increase the survival chances and years.

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