Lung Cancer


Lung cancer is the leading killer cancer that starts with the abormal growth and duplication of cells in the lungs.

The sad part is that its symptoms appear only at later stages. Lungs are vital organs of the body that bring in fresh oxygen and distribute it to other parts of the body through blood. Moreover, it aids in expelling out the carbodioxide from the blood as well. Thus, if the lungs are affected by cancer, it can endanger your life, and hence it is essential that you take proper care of your lungs. There are basically two types of lung cancer, small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Nearly fifteen percent cases are of the small cell type. This cancer is seen in the bronchi and is present near the center of the chest. Though small, they multiply and spread really fast . The non-small cell lung cancer occurs in nearly eight five percent cases and has three types, viz., adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.

Causes

Smoking and second hand smoke are the major factors responsible for causing lung cancer. Exposure to radon, asbestos, arsenic, uranium, etc., air pollution, occurence of lung diseases, genetic predisposition, personal as well as family history, etc., are some other causes that increase the risk of lung cancer.

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms usually are visible at later stages. These include persistent cough, wheezing, hoarseness, chest pain that worsens while breathing and coughing, rusty or blood colored sputum, weakness, weight loss, shortness of breath, loss of apetite, recurrence of bronchitis, pneumonia, headache, seizure, dizziness, etc.

Diagnosis

Immediate medical diagnosis is required if you come across any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above. A chest x-ray, CT scan, MRI, PET scan, or a bone scan may be required. To determine the exact type of cancer, the patient may be required to do bronchoscopy, endoscopic esophageal ultrasound, endobronchial ultrasound, thoracentesis, mediastinoscopy, mediastinotomy, thoracoscopy, bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, etc. To confirm it, an additional sputum test or FNA may be essential. Early detection is essential to ensure a successful treatment ahead.

Treatment

The treatment will vary a bit depending on the type of cancer, age of patient and their general health. Chemotherapy and radiation are often seen recommended to patients suffering from small cell lung cancer. Depending on the stage of tumor, surgery like lobectomy, pneumectomy, video assisted thoracic surgery, etc., may be required. Complementary methods like meditation, acupuncture, peppermint tea etc. may be used to relieve stress, nausea and pain.

Prevention

As the major cause of lung cancer is smoking, quitting smoking is the only way you can prevent lung cancer. Avoid the company of smokers. This in turn will improve the overall functioning of the lungs along with some additional health benefits. Exercise is necessary to reduce stress, lower your depression, fatigue, etc., and make you feel better.

Thus, make healthier choices by quitting smoking, eating the right food, exercising, etc., to enhance the quality of your life ahead and lower the risk of lung cancer.