Lung cancer is not a new health term these modern days. The reason is because a lot of people worldwide are suffering and have suffered from this kind of cancer. The question is what do we really know about lung cancer? How are we going to prevent this condition? Which causes for a person to have it? There are a lot of questions concerning this and that’s what we will discuss through the list of information below.
A Group of Abnormal Cells
This cancer obviously affects the lungs, either one or two of them. The cells that are found in the air passages are infected. They start to become abnormal and spread all throughout. This results to the formation of tumors. When they become large, it can cause the lungs to become weak due to the blockage of oxygen or air.
Benign and Malignant Tumors
Tumors that grow in the lungs can be either benign or malignant. Benign tumors are a type of tumors that stay in one area. They do not spread to other parts. In contrary, malignant tumors are able to spread from one area to the other, including the bloodstream and the lymphatic system.
Types of Lung Cancer
In general classification, lung cancer is categorized into two primary types. These are the small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer, also labeled as NSCLC, is more prevalent compared to small cell lung cancer.
Other than these two major types, there are different sub-types. They are called squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, bronchioalveolar carcinoma and large-cell undifferentiated carcinoma.
Factors of the Cancer
This cancer happens due to different causes. One very common is smoking. Smoking cigarettes and tobaccos are the usual reason why most patients of this cancer suffer. Both of these have carcinogens, which are also found in asbestos, car exhaust fumes, arsenic and radiation, that may also be other factors of lung cancer. All types of carcinogens are dangerous to the health resulting to affect the lungs. This is also the trigger of forming free radicals in the body, causing cells to damage and become unfunctional.
Lung cancer may also happen to someone who has a family relative who has suffered from this. It may be from a grandparent, parent, uncle or aunt.
Signs and Symptoms
Like any other cancers, lung cancer has symptoms to be aware of. These signs may vary depending on the location and the size of the cancerous tumor. They also come out abruptly or later, but most of the time is during the advanced stage.
Common symptoms are intense and frequent coughing, which may also include blood, pain in the chest and shoulder, difficulty in breathing, difficulty in swallowing certain foods, hoarseness of voice, changes in the color of mucus, and pneumonia or chronic bronchitis.
If the tumors have spread outside the lungs, more symptoms are triggered. These include fever, fatigue, joint and bone pain, swollen neck and face, sudden weight loss, headaches, seizures, jaundice, bleeding or blood clots, and memory problem.
Lung cancer is classified into various stages. The advanced the stage is the more symptoms occur and the worse the condition is. The stages are marked as Stage I, Stage II, Stage IIIa, Stage IIIb, and Stage IV.
The first stage is described as a tumor in one of the lungs, while the second stage refers to the tumors that have spread to the other side of the lungs and the lymph nodes. Stage IIIa is the condition in which the cancer starts to spread not only in the lymph nodes, but also to other areas like the trachea, diaphragm, and chest wall. Both lungs, lymph nodes and neck are affected when it is already on Stage IIIb. The last stage, which is Stage IV, is when the cancerous cells spread throughout more parts of the body from head to toe.
Diagnosis and Treatment
There are different tests to conduct to confirm lung cancer and determine its stage. Doctors use common tests on the chest and lungs, which include X-rays, CT scans, bronchoscopy, MRI scans, and PET scans. Patients also undergo analysis of blood that are in the sputum, which is to check other organs aside from lungs for possible more growing tumors.
It is vital and strongly recommended that an individual has to see his or her doctor regularly for chest and lung examination. This is especially to people who usually smoke. There is a greater chance to prevent and treat the cancer while it is still on its early stage. Even if smoking is not a habit, if symptoms like the ones mentioned previously are becoming obvious, you must not hesitate to have a check-up. They may indicate that you are having cancerous tumors or damaged cells in your lungs already.