Lung cancer is the deadliest type of cancer for both men and women. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined. Lung cancer is cancer that starts in the lungs. The lungs are located in the chest. They help you breathe. When you breathe in, air goes through your nose, down the windpipe (called the trachea), and into the lungs, where it spreads through tubes called bronchi. Most lung cancer begins in the cells that line these tubes. There are two main types of lung cancer: 1.
Non-small cell lung cancer- this is the most common type of lung cancer. 2. Small cell lung cancer makes up about 20% of all lung cancer cases. If the lung cancer is made up of both types, it is called mixed small cell/large cell cancer. Causes- Lung cancer is more common in older adults. There are rare cases of people ‘under the age of 45’ who have had Lung Cancer. Research shows that Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of Lung Cancer. However Lung cancer has occurred in people who have never smoked. Second-hand smoke (breathing the smoke of others) increases your risk of lung cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 3,000 non-smoking adults will die each year from lung cancer due to breathing second-hand smoke. Other factors which may increase risk of Lung cancer are high levels of air pollution, Radon gas, Radiation therapy to lungs and exposure to cancer-causing chemicals such as uranium, beryllium, vinyl chloride, nickel chromates, coal products, mustard gas, chloromethyl ethers, gasoline, and diesel exhaust. Symptoms- Early lung cancer may not cause any symptoms. Many times, lung cancer is found when an x-ray is done for another reason.
Symptoms depend on the type of lung cancer you may be suffering from but may include: * Cough that doesn’t go away * Coughing up blood * Shortness of breath * Fatigue * Chest pain * Loss of appetite * Losing weight without trying Additional Symptoms which may occur during the later stages of Lung Cancer: * Weakness * Swallowing difficulty * Nail problems * Joint pain * Swelling of the face or arms * Facial paralysis * Eyelid drooping * Bone pain or tenderness * Shoulder Pain These symptoms may occur due to other less serious conditions, so experiencing these symptoms does not mean that you are suffering from Lung Cancer.
Current Treatment available- 1) Non-small cell lung cancer- There are many different types of treatment for non-small cell lung cancer. Treatment depends on the stage of the cancer. Surgery is the often the first line of treatment for patients with non-small cell lung cancer that has not spread beyond nearby lymph nodes. Also some patients may need chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells and stop new ones from growing. This may be given before the surgery or after the surgery. However Radiation therapy can also be used with chemotherapy if surgery is not possible.
Radiation therapy uses powerful x-rays or other forms of radiation to kill cancer cells. The following treatments are mostly used to relieve symptoms caused by Non-small cell lung cancer: * Laser therapy – a small beam of light burns and kills cancer cells * Photodynamic therapy – uses a light to activate a drug in the body, which kills cancer cells 2) Small cell lung cancer- Because ‘Small cell lung cancer’ spreads quickly throughout the body, treatment must include cancer-killing drugs (chemotherapy) taken by mouth or injected into the body.