Lung Cancer: Things You Should Know About

Posted on : December 1, 2023 by Clinic One on Cancer

Lung cancer is a life-threatening illness that affects millions of individuals around the world. It is the main cause of death from cancer in both men and women. While a lung cancer diagnosis might be concerning, it is critical to understand the disease, its causes, symptoms, and preventive choices. In this blog, we will look at several elements of lung cancer to provide valuable information.


Introduction

Lung cancer is a form of cancer that begins when abnormal cells in the lungs spread uncontrollably. It is a major health problem that can result in serious damage or death. It is the leading cause of death from cancer worldwide, with men and women having the greatest mortality rates. Tobacco use is the primary cause, accounting for over 85% of all occurrences.


Types of Lung Cancer

The most common forms of lung cancer are those that develop directly in the lungs. Other, less common kinds of cancer can develop in the lungs and chest wall.

1. Non-small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)

NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for around 85% of cases. It develops and spreads more slowly. Surgery is performed to remove non-small cell cancers of the lungs that have not progressed beyond the lung. In more advanced cancers, surgery may be performed in combination with radiation therapy and chemotherapy.


2. Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC):

Almost all cases of small-cell lung cancer are caused by cigarette smoking. It is a rapidly spreading cancer that spreads faster than other types of lung cancer. It accounts for 10%-15% of all lung cancers. Chemotherapy is the most often used treatment for small cell lung cancer because it kills cancer cells that have spread outside of the lung.


Risk Factors of Lung Cancer

While there are a variety of risk factors, smoking any form of tobacco product, such as cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, is the major risk factor. According to experts, smoking is responsible for 80% of lung cancer deaths.


Other Risk Factors Include

  • Long-term exposure to second-hand smoke
  • Occupational exposure to asbestos, arsenic, and its compounds
  • Exposure to Radon (the second leading cause of lung cancer in the USA)
  • Air Pollution
  • Family history of lung disease
  • Radiation therapy


Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer

Most people with lung cancer do not have symptoms until the disease has progressed. The symptoms are:

  • Coughing worsens or does not go away.
  • Chest Pain
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Wheezing
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue


Prevention of Lung Cancer

  • Quit smoking: The most common cause of lung cancer is smoking. It contains several carcinogens and poisons that gradually harm lung tissues, raising the risk of cancer. Quitting smoking lowers your risk of getting lung cancer significantly.
  • Avoid second-hand smoke: Each year, secondhand smoke kills around 7,330 people from lung cancer and 33,950 people from heart disease. Even if you don’t smoke, secondhand smoke raises your risk of developing lung cancer. Avoid being in areas where people smoke, particularly in enclosed places.
  • Avoid occupational exposure to harmful components: Some jobs require workers to be exposed to hazardous substances such as asbestos, arsenic, diesel fumes, radon, and certain chemicals. Long-term exposure to these can lead to lung cancer. Follow safety precautions, wear protective equipment, and seek another job if necessary.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Obesity and overweight are linked to an increased risk of numerous cancers, including lung cancer. Adopting a healthy lifestyle with regular physical activity and a well-balanced diet will help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your cancer risk.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Obesity and overweight are linked to an increased risk of numerous cancers, including lung cancer. Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and a well-balanced diet will help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your cancer risk.
  • If you are at high risk for lung cancer, get screened.


Conclusion

Lung cancer is a complex and often dangerous disease, but there is hope for prevention, early detection, and therapy. So, understanding the symptoms, risk factors, and prevention methods is critical for reducing your risk and increasing your chances of a positive outcome if this condition impacts you or someone close to you. Therefore, if you have any worries or suspect symptoms, seek medical advice and help from healthcare specialists immediately.


Key Points to Remember

  • Lung cancer is a form of cancer that begins when abnormal cells in the lungs spread uncontrollably.
  • Non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer are the most common types of lung cancer.
  • Smoking is the major risk factor for lung cancer.
  • Quitting smoking is the major preventive measure for lung cancer.


FAQs about Lung Cancer

How does smoking cause lung cancer?
Doctors believe smoking increases lung cancer by harming the cells that line the lungs. When you inhale cigarette smoke, which contains cancer-causing compounds (carcinogens), changes in lung tissue occur very instantly. Your body may be able to repair the harm at first. However, the normal cells that line your lungs get further destroyed with each repeated exposure. The damage leads cells to act abnormally over time, and cancer may arise.
Can vaping cause lung cancer?

Although vaping is less dangerous than smoking, the nicotine and other substances in the e-cigarette or vaping liquid can be potentially hazardous to your lungs. So, it would be wise to avoid any form of smoking.

Can non-smokers develop lung cancer?

Yes, non-smokers can develop lung cancer. While cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, you can also develop it from secondhand smoke, asbestos or radon exposure, or having a family history of lung cancer.

How common is lung cancer among men and women?

While men are more likely to develop lung cancer, the number of cases among men and women is close. Black males are around 12% more likely than white males to suffer from lung cancer. Black women had a 16% lower rate than white women.


References:
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/lung-cancer/lung-cancer-types
https://www.webmd.com/lung-cancer/lung-cancer-types
https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/lung/basic_info/risk_factors.htm
https://www.healthline.com/health/lung-cancer/does-vaping-cause-lung-cancer#other-lung-concerns
https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/lung-cancer

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