Abnormal cells may start growing in lungs leading to cancerous growth. Lung cancer takes the top position in causing deaths related to cancers in the US and affects both men and women. This form of cancer claims more lives than other cancers combined like prostate, breast, ovarian and colon. People who smoke are more likely to suffer this condition. In addition, the risk of suffering lung cancer increases with the number of cigarettes you smoke and the length of time you have been smoking.
There are chances that you will reduce the possibility of developing lung cancer when you quit smoking even if you have done it for many years. Therefore, it is advisable that if you smoke, you quite You can consult your doctor to help you out in quitting smoking.
Symptoms of lung cancer
Lung cancer has no symptoms in its early stages but with time, signs start being noticed. Usually when the signs appear, they manifest as blockage in breathing passages and spreading of the cancerous growth into the lungs, the structures surrounding the lungs and other parts of your body.
A patient with lung cancer will experience chronic raspy coughing and hacking and sometimes blood-streaked mucus may be seen. Moreover, a patient will suffer from recurrence episodes of respiratory infections, which include pneumonia and bronchitis. Persistent chest pain, wheezing sound and shortness of breath are other signs experienced by a person suffering from lung cancer.
Hoarseness and swelling of face and neck are other symptoms. A person may also have weak shoulders, arms and hands coupled with pain. Loss of weight and appetite as well as severe headaches may also be witnessed in a person suffering from this condition. If you smoke and you experience a new cough that does not go away, you need to visit a doctor for medical examination.
Causes of lung cancer
Although lung cancer mainly manifests in people who smoke as well as those who are exposed to secondhand smoke, it can also occur in people who have never smoked or exposed to secondhand smoke. Smoking can damage the cells lining your lungs. Cigarettes are known to have cancer-causing substances known as carcinogens and they cause changes in the lung tissue immediate you smoke.
Although in the beginning, you body may be able to repair the damaged cells, with persistent smoking, the extent of damage increases and this makes it difficult for the cells to be repaired. With exposure to carcinogens over a long time, the cells may begin acting abnormally (mutation) and this could lead to development of cancer.
There are different types of lung cancer, which include small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. The former is the most common type of cancer while the latter makes up to 20 percent of all lung cancer cases. At times, lung cancer may be made of both types and in this case, it is called mixed small cell and large cell cancer. Moreover, cancer may start from others part of the body and spreads to the lung. This is known as metastatic cancer of the lung.
Treatment of lung cancer
Different options available in treating cancer can be applied by doctors and there are factors, which need to be considered before the treatments. The overall health and stage of cancer growth are some of the factors considered. A patient may receive one or more treatments, which include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or targeted drug therapy.
If surgery is performed, the surgeon will remove the lung cancer and surrounding healthy tissue. Wedge resection surgery removes small section of lung, which contains the cancerous growth tumor together with a margin of healthy tissue that surround the tumor. Segmental resection removes large portion of lung tissue but the entire lobe is not removed.
Other types of surgery are lobectomy and pneumonectomy. When a portion of lung is removed, the remaining tissue will grow with time and you will be able to breathe easier. You should expect to feel shortness of breath after the surgery. Chemotherapy is applied through use of drugs, which are aimed at killing the cancerous cells.
The drugs may be administered intravenously through a vein in your arm or orally taken. Radiation therapy uses energy beams of high intensity such as x rays to destroy the cancerous cells. The beam can be directed to the lung from the outside or it may be put inside needles and catheters. Alternatively, it may also be placed near the cancer.
Targeted therapy is a newer form of treatment for cancers and it works by targeting specific abnormalities in cancerous cells. There are different options, which may be used in case of lung cancer, and they include avastin or bevacizumab, which stops the tumor from developing new blood supply. Erlotinib or tarceva blocks the chemicals, which signal cancer cell growth and multiplication.
Lung Cancer Pictures