Lung Cancer is a disease which consists of uncontrolled cell growth in lung tissues. Lung cancer consists of two types, Non-small cell lung cancer, and small cell lung cancer. (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer. The bronchi are the large air tubes leading from the trachea to the lungs that convey air to and from the lungs, and where most lung cancers begin. The body normally maintains cell growth only producing new cells when needed. Disruption of normal cell growth results in an uncontrolled division and spread of cells eventually forming a tumor.
Tumors can be benign or malignant, but when we speak of cancer including lung cancer, the tumors are malignant. Lung cancer metastasizes very early after it forms making it a very life-threatening cancer, difficult to treat. Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer among both men and women. The Lungs are paired organs in the chest that perform respiration. Each human has two lungs. Each lung is between 10 and 12 inches long. With each breath, your lungs add fresh oxygen to your blood, which then carries it to your cells. The lungs are the essential respiration organ in humans.
Their main function is to allow oxygen from the air into the bloodstream, and to release carbon dioxide from the bloodstream into the atmosphere. Human lungs are located in two cavities on either side of the heart. Though they look similar, the two are not identical. Both are separated into lobes, with three lobes on the right and two on the left. Air enters the lungs through the trachea. Trachea divides into bronchi, and then Bronchi divide into bronchioles. Alveoli are the air sacs at the end of the bronchioles. There are many symptoms of lung cancer and each individual may not experience them all.
Some of the symptoms include a cough that does not go away, chest pain, shortness of breath, persistent hoarseness in your voice, swelling of the neck and face, weight loss that is not due to dieting or exercise, fatigue, loss of appetite, bloody or brown-colored spit or sputum, Lung Cancer 3 unexplained fever, and recurrent lung infections, such as bronchitis or pneumonia. The risk factors of getting lung cancer involve or being exposed to Tobacco and second-hand smoke, Asbestos, and Radon. Most people who develop lung cancer today have either stopped smoking years earlier or have never smoked.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men and women. More than 87% of lung cancers are smoking related. The smoke of a cigarette contains about 4,000 chemicals. More than 200 chemicals have been linked to cause cancer. Tobacco smoke contains thousands of dangerous elements and chemicals compounds, including formaldehyde, arsenic, cadmium, benzene, polonium, ammonia, carbon monoxide, methanol, and hydrogen cyanide. Each year about 3,000 non-smoking adults die of lung cancer as a result of breathing secondhand smoke.
More Americans die each year of lung cancer than from breast, prostate and colorectal cancers combined. To diagnosis and evaluate lung cancer the patient has to take a CT scan, X-ray imaging, PET scan – Positron emission tomography, MRI – Magnetic resonance imaging, Bronchoscopy – Bronchoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to look at your airway through a thin viewing instrument called a bronchoscope. During a bronchoscopy, your doctor will examine your throat, larynx , trachea , and lower airways.
Because almost all patients will have a tumor in the lung, a chest x-ray or CT scan of the chest is performed. The diagnosis must be confirmed with a biopsy. The locations of all sites of cancer are determined by additional CT scans, PET scans, and MRI. It is important to find out if cancer started in the lung or somewhere else in the body. Cancer getting out in other parts of the body can spread to the lung as well. The treatments for lung cancer depends on the stage and type of lung cancer and involves Surgery, Radiation therapy, Chemotherapy, Targeted therapy, and Lung cancer is usually treated with a combination of therapies in general.
In surgery the tumor and the nearby lymph nodes in Lung Cancer 4 the chest are typically removed to offer the best chance for a cure. For non-small cell lung cancer, a lobectomy which involves the removal of the entire lobe where the tumor is located has shown to be very effective. Unfortunately, Surgery may not be possible in some patient due to the stage and type of lung cancer they have. Chemotherapy involves drugs used to kill cancer cells. A combination of medications is often used and may be prescribed before or after surgery, or radiation therapy.
It can improve survival and lessen lung cancer symptoms in all patients, even those with widespread lung cancer. Radiation therapy contains the use of high-energy x- rays or other particles to destroy cancer cells. Side effects include fatigue, malaise, loss of appetite, and skin irritation at the treatment site. Radiation pneumonitis is the irritation and inflammation of the lung, which occurs in 15% of patients. It is important that the radiation treatments avoid the healthy parts of the lung. Lung Cancer Staging is a way of describing a cancer, such as the size of the tumor and where it has spread.
Staging is the most important tool doctors have to determine a patient’s prognosis. The type of treatment a person receives depends on the stage of the cancer. The stages are different for non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. Stage 1 Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer is found only in the lung, surgical removal recommended, and followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Stage 2 Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the lung. Treatment is surgery to remove the tumor and nearby lymph nodes.
Chemotherapy is recommended and radiation therapy is sometimes given after chemotherapy. Stage 3 Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer has spread to the lymph nodes located in the center of the chest, and outside the lung. Stage 3A cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the chest, on the same side where the cancer originated. Stage 3B cancer has spread to lymph nodes on the opposite side of the chest, under the collarbone, or the pleura. Surgery or Lung Cancer 5 radiation therapy with chemotherapy recommended for stage 3A, and Chemotherapy and sometimes radiation therapy recommended for stage 3B.
Stage 4 Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer has spread to different lobes of the lung or to other organs, such as the brain, bones, and liver. Stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer is treated with chemotherapy. Small Cell Lung Cancer in all stages is treated with simultaneous radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Patients with tumors spread all over the body are treated with chemotherapy only, because small cell lung cancer can spread to the brain, preventing radiation therapy to the brain is highly recommended. Patients with lung cancer face the risk of cancer growing back or the development of a new lung cancer.
All patients must follow up with their doctors for regular x-rays, scans, and check-ups. Many people with lung cancer feel that they will not receive as much moral support or help from people around them because they believe others will think that their behavior caused the disease. Doctors and other members of health-care can help support patients and families cope with a diagnosis of lung cancer. Patients can take comfort knowing that the advances being made in the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer will provide more and more patients with a chance for a cure.