How to define lung cancer?
is a type of cancer that starts in the lungs. The cancer almost always begins in the spongy, pinkish gray walls of the lung's airways
(called bronchi or bronchioles
) or air sacs
There are two
major types of lung cancer: The non-small cell lung cancer
, which is the most common
and small-cell lung cancer
, which spreads more quickly
have the greatest
risk of developing lung cancer, but lung cancer can also occur in non-smokers
What are the causes or risk factors of lung cancer?
Here are some common factors that may trigger lung cancer, which include:
- Smoking: Majority of lung cancers are caused by smoking. Quit smoking at any age can significantly lower the risk of developing lung cancer.
- Pipe and cigar smokers: These groups are also at an increased risk of developing lung cancer.
- Exposure to secondhand smoke: Also called passive smoking, secondhand smokers also have a higher risk of lung cancer.
- Exposure to radon gas: Radon gas is a natural decay product of uranium in soil, rock, and water, a chemically inert gas. It can become part of the air you breath through gaps in the foundation, pipes, drains, or other openings.
- Exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens: Workplace exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens like arsenic, chromium and nickel can increase your risk of developing lung cancer, especially if you're a smoker.
- Family history of lung cancer
What are the symptoms of lung cancer?
Lung cancer generally doesn't have
signs or symptoms in its earliest stages
. But when developed into an advanced stage,
they occur as:
- A new cough that doesn't go away.
- Chronic coughing with blood or mucus in it.
- Lasting chest pain
- Unexpected weight loss
- Severe Headache
- Swallowing problems
- Pain and weakness in shoulders, arms or hands.
- Swollen neck and face
- Shortness of breath
- Pleural effusion
How to diagnose lung cancer?
If you have the symptoms I have listed above, Please head for hospitals to do the following tests as soon as possible:
- Imaging tests: like X-rays and CT scan. X-rays can reveal abnormal mass or nodule; CT scan can reveal small lesions in your lungs.
- Sputum cytology: Check the sputum under microscopes, thus revealing whether cancer cells are present or not.
- Tissue sample (biopsy): There are many ways to perform biopsy: bronchoscopy, which uses a lighted tube passes down your throat; mediastinoscopy, which inserts surgical tools behind your behindbone through the incision at the base of your neck, thus taking samples from lymph nodes; needle biopsy, uses needle to collect suspicious cells in your lung tissue.
What are the common treatments for lung cancer?
The followings are the common treatments for lung cancer:
- Surgery to remove the lungs: Four procedures need to be followed: wedge resection, segmentsl resection, lobectomy, and pneumonectomy.
- Radiation therapy: Use high-energy beams such as X-rays and protons to kill cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy: Use drugs to kill cancer cells, usually after surgery.
- Radiosurgery: An intense radiation treatment that aims many beams of radiation from many angles at the cancer. It is an option for people with small lung cancers but can't undergo surgery.
- Targeted drug therapy: Block specific abnormalities to kill cancer cells.
- Immunotherapy: Use your immune system to fight against cancer.
- Palliative care: Also known as supportive care, it uses drugs to minimize symptoms and even the side effects of treatments.
What is the prognosis of lung cancer?
On the whole, the prognosis for lung cancer is poor
. It greatly depends on the stage in which the cancer is detected.
The five-year survival rate
for Stage IA
The five-year survival rate for Stage IB
The five-year survival rate for Stage IIA
The five-year survival rate for Stage IIB
The five-year survival rate for Stage IIIA
The five-year survival rate for Stage IIIB
The five-year survival rate for Stage IV
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