Lung Cancer starts in your lungs and can spread to other parts of your body. It is the most preventable kinds of cancer as much as it’s the top cause of cancer deaths for U.S. men and women.
Smoking and avoiding other people’s secondhand smoke should be avoided to steer clear lung cancer.
The disease almost always starts in the spongy gray walls of the lungs’ airways called bronchi or bronchioles or air sacs called alveoli. There are more than 20 kinds of lung cancer.
Types of lung cancer
Lung cancers, also known as bronchogenic carcinomas, are broadly classified into two types: small cell lung cancers (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC). This classification is based upon the microscopic appearance of the tumor cells. These two types of cancers grow, spread, and are treated in different ways, so a distinction between these two types is important.
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SCLC encompasses 10%-15% of lung cancers. This type of lung cancer is the most destructive and rapidly growing of all the types. SCLC is related to cigarette smoking.
NSCLC is the most common lung cancer, accounting for about 85% of all cases. NSCLC has three main types designated by the type of cells found in the tumor. They are:
- Squamous cell carcinomas
- Large cell carcinomas
Lung Cancer Symptoms
Lung caner usually has no symptoms in its early stages. However when signs start to appear, they can include:
- Chronic raspy coughing, sometimes with mucus that is smeared with blood
- Changes in a cough that is prolonged
- Respiratory infections that keep coming back, including bronchitis or pneumonia
- Shortness of breath
- Prolonged chest pain
- Swelling of the neck and face
- Pain and weakness in the arm, shoulder, or hand
- Weakness, Fatigue, loss of appetite and weight, recurrent fever, severe headaches, and body pain
- Trouble swallowing food and saliva
These problems usually happen because of blocked breathing passages or because the cancer has spread farther into the lung or nearby areas.
What causes lung cancer
About 90% of lung cancers arising as a result of tobacco use. The risk of lung cancer increases with the number of cigarettes smoked over time; doctors refer to this risk in terms of pack-years of smoking history, that is, the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day multiplied by the number of years smoked. For instance, a person who has smoked two packs of cigarettes per day for 10 years has a 20 pack-year smoking history. While the risk of lung cancer is increased with even a 10 pack-year smoking history, those with 30 pack-year histories or more are considered to have the greatest risk for the development of lung cancer.
Among those who smoke two or more packs of cigarettes per day, one in seven will die of lung cancer.
Prevention of Lung Cancer
There’s a lot you can do to lower your chances of getting lung cancer. The first and major thing to avoid is smoking and to avoid other people’s secondhand smoke.
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If you’ve never smoked cigarettes, your risk of lung cancer is low. If you currently smoke, especially if you are a heavy smoker, your odds of developing lung cancer can be 30 times higher than the risk for a nonsmoker.
You’ll also want to avoid thing like Radon gas (A colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that soil and rock emits. It can seep up through the foundation and build up inside well-insulated homes). You should also avoid contact with Asbestos, this also possess a risk especially if you work with it.
What to do to Prevent Lung Cancer
There are steps to reduce your risk of lung cancer;
- If you smoke, make it your top priority to quit. You can talk to your doctor about the best ways to quit.
- Avoid beta-carotene supplements.
- Check your home for radon. Most hardware stores carry an inexpensive and easy-to-use kit that accurately measures radon levels.
- Exerciseand eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
Your lung cancer treatment will depend in part on:
- What type of the disease you have
- Its stage
- Whether it has spread in your body
- The side effects the treatment may cause
- Your age and general health
- Your preferences and goals
Ask your doctor to explain the recommended treatment plan, including its benefits, side effects.
Surgery can be an option if the cancer hasn’t spread too far in your body. It’s usually the best way to treat non-small-cell lung cancer.
Your doctor can remove the part of the lung that has the tumor and the tissue around it. It may require you to have your whole lung removed. You might also need radiation or chemotherapy after surgery.
In this process, doctors use a machine to point high-energy X-rays at a tumor so as to destroy it. It works for both non-small-cell and small-cell lung cancers.
You get radiation treatments a few days at a time over several weeks. You may get it before surgery to shrink a tumor to make it easier to remove, or after surgery to kill any cancer cells left behind. It can also help relieve some of the symptoms of lung cancer, such as pain or bleeding.
If you have non-small cell lung cancer and can’t have surgery, this treatment may be an alternative.
Your doctor guides a thin needle through your skin until it touches the tumor inside your lung. Then an electric current passes through it to heat and destroy the cancer cells.