Lung cancer is one of the leading cause of smokers death in the United States. Learn in this article about lung cancer symptoms and signs, how it affects you, what causes it, types and stages, prevention and treatment medication options of this deadly cancer!
What is Lung Cancer?
It is a type of cancer in which cells in the lung grow abnormally and can spread to other parts of the body. This cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer today.
Why lung cancer is so deadly and where does it start?
This lung disease usually starts in the cells that line the air passages. If not detected early, it can spread to other parts of the body like bones and organs. Cases that are diagnosed at an advanced stage often do not respond well to treatment or even lead to death.
Sometimes other cancers can reach to the lung such as breast and skin cancers, however, when the lung is affected by these types of cancers is not considered as a lung cancer.
Lung cancer is a malignant tumor located in the lung’s tissues. The cancer cells release substances that irritate the lungs and cause sickness or difficulty breathing. The body can fight against this cancer, but not always. It is vital to know the symptoms of the cancer early on because early detection can save your life.
What are the Functions of The Lungs?
The lungs are a pair of spongy organs in the chest cavity that take in oxygen from the air and release carbon dioxide.
The lungs have two major functions:
- Provide oxygen to the blood
- Remove wastes from the body
In order to do this, the lungs need to be inflated and deflated properly at a rate that is appropriate for these functions. Therefore, we need to take a very good care of the health of our lungs.
Lung Cancer Symptoms and Signs
One of the most important signs of lung cancer is trouble breathing. Other symptoms can include a persistent cough, pain when inhaling deeply, and chest discomfort.
There are a number of lung cancer signs and symptoms that may indicate its presence. These include:
- Persistent cough that does not go away
- A worsening shortness of breath
- Unexpected weight loss for unknown reasons
- Pain when coughing or breathing deeply
- Chest pain
- Hoarseness or change in voice
- Difficulty swallowing food or drink
Why lung cancer causes cough?
The cancer develops in the lungs when a cell in the lining of the lung ends up forming abnormal blood vessels. These blood vessels leak blood and fluid into the surrounding tissue, which is why you get a cough (and sometimes shortness of breath).
Can lung cancer cause back pain?
Lung cancer causes back pain in many patients. One of the most common symptoms of this cancer is shortness of breath, which can lead to a buildup of pressure on the spine until the pain becomes unbearable. Other symptoms are chest pain, shoulder pain, and arm pain. They are often associated with other lung diseases, but should always be taken seriously.
If there’s any suspicion that you or a loved one might have cancer, it’s important to see your doctor as soon as possible.
Lung Cancer Causes
How lung cancer is caused?
Smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer. Regularly breathing in smoke, dust, or fumes can damage the cells in the lungs and over time develop into cancer. Sometimes there are genetic causes that can lead to this cancer, but this is less common than smoking.
It’s estimated that 20% of lung diseases are due to smoking cigarettes. Smoking, specifically tobacco smoking, is the most common cause of cancer. Other risk factors include exposure to second-hand smoke or other toxic substances.
Other causes include secondhand smoke, exposure to asbestos, radon gas and more.
The location in the lungs where the cancer starts will affect how it spreads in the body. Non-small cell cancers are more likely to spread than small cell cancers.
Can lung cancer be inherited?
The answer to this question is, it depends. If you have a family history of lung cancer, your risk of developing the disease is increased. But even if your family doesn’t have a history of this cancer, you can still develop the disease.
It is not known if there is a genetic link to the disease, but it seems likely that gene mutation and other heritable factors may play a role.
Lung Cancer Diagnosis
Can lung cancer be seen on xray?
Yes, lung cancer is most often diagnosed with a chest x-ray or CT scan.
A chest X-ray may show growths or other signs of lung disease and tumors. A CT scan can better detect the extent to which the tumor has spread. PET scanners are often used to detect cancers that have spread outside of the lungs. When it comes to biopsies, doctors usually take 10 samples for testing.
If you are diagnosed with cancer, it’s important to be aware of what it might mean for your health. Although the diagnosis is not always a death sentence, it can still cause serious problems. It may even be difficult to breathe or stay active without pain.
A doctor will remove the lung tumor and usually perform other diagnostic testing depending on what type of cancer they think you have. They will also prescribe medication to control the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, which can be debilitating depending on the case.
How often should lung cancer screening be done?
The question of how often lung disease screening should be done is not a simple one. Studies have shown that annual screenings may contribute to more false positive results, which can lead to anxiety and unnecessary follow-up tests. However, the risk of developing the cancer increases with age. The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends low-dose CT scans every three years for smokers who are between age 55 and 80 years old, whereas the American Cancer Society recommends yearly low-dose CT scans for these same people.
Lung Cancer Types
There are two main types of lung cancer:
- Non-small cell
- Small cell
Non-small cell is the more common type, making up about 85% of cases. This type starts in the tissue that surrounds and supports the lungs and can be found all over the body. The second type, small cell, only accounts for 15% of cases and tends to grow quickly and spread to other parts of the body quickly.
Thanks to new technology like bronchoscopy, which allows doctors to look inside patients’ esophagus or trachea using a flexible tube with a lighted lens attached to it, doctors are able to see what’s going on inside their lungs.
Lung Cancer Stages
Many of the lung cancer deaths happen before diagnosis. The cancer is divided into four stages, which are based on the tumor’s size and location. The cancer will only be stage 1 if it stays in one area. If the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, it will be stage 2, 3, or 4.
How many lung cancer stages are there?
There are several different stages of the cancer, listed as follows:
- Stage 1
Patients might not require treatment
- Stage 2
Patients, chemotherapy is often used to shrink tumors and stop spread of cancer cells
- Stage 3 and 4
Patients often need surgery, additional chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy
Can lung cancer spread to the brain?
The short answer is that yes it can. Lung cancer cells can spread to the brain through a process known as metastasis. As early-stage the cancer spreads, it can cause blockages in the lungs and make breathing difficult. Once it spreads to the brain, it can cause headaches, seizures, and confusion. In most cases, the cancer cells will not spread to the brain, but this is one of the possible side effects of advanced-stage cancer.
Here are samples of Xray lung cancer images:
Can lung cancer cause anemia?
Yes, some people with lung disease may develop anemia. This is more likely to happen when they are on chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment. The cancer itself can also make it difficult for the person to get enough oxygen in their blood, which can cause some fatigue.
The earlier the cancer is detected, the better chance you have of being successfully treated for the disease.
Lung Cancer Treatment Methods
Can lung cancer be cured?
Yes but not always, it depends on the severity of the cancer.
How lung cancer is treated?
There are several treatments for this lung disease that may be used by your doctor. These include:
- Radiation therapy
Chemotherapy is the most common treatment for lung cancer in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Radiation therapy uses powerful beams of energy to kill cancer cells. This is usually done in daily or weekly sessions until you’ve reached a certain level of radiation. Surgery can often be done to remove any cancers found when doctors examine your lungs with a bronchoscope. Immunotherapy can also sometimes be used to fight the cancer.
Patients with lung cancer are often prescribed chemotherapy drugs to help with their treatment. These drugs can weaken the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off infections. That’s why patients are put on antibiotics before they receive these medications in order to prevent complications. The medications that are used will depend on the type of cancer the patient has, but some might include cisplatin, etoposide, vinblastine, and carboplatin.
There are many different treatment methods for lung cancer. If the disease is in its early stages, the doctor may be able to treat it with surgery. However, this is not always possible. In some cases, radiation or chemotherapy will be necessary for a full recovery. In other cases, people have an increased risk of developing lung cancer again if they have been treated.
This is why it’s so important to learn about the cancer prevention methods and avoid smoking cigarettes or fumes from mines, factories and other sources such as vehicles or machinery.
How much does lung cancer treatment cost?
This is a difficult question to answer because the cost of lung cancer treatment depends on the type of cancer and your location. In general, treatments can range from less than $10,000 to more than $200,000. For example, if you get chemotherapy it might cost you about $5,000 for a six-month supply.
Lung Cancer Prevention
How lung cancer can be prevented?
There are many different ways to help prevent lung cancer. The first step to reducing your risk of cancer is quitting smoking. Other ways to avoid the cancer includes eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, avoiding chemicals and pollutants, and wearing sunscreen. You can help protect yourself by avoiding breathing in harmful substances such as asbestos and tar.
How many lung cancer deaths per year?
Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer in the United States. It is responsible for more deaths than colon, prostate, breast, and pancreatic cancers combined. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 228,190 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed this year and 160,350 people are expected to die from the disease. It mostly affects smokers, but anyone who lives near coal mining or hazardous waste sites can also be at risk.
How much lung cancer is caused by smoking?
Smoking is one of the most significant causes, so quit now! Other steps include staying away from chemicals in your home, wearing a mask when needed, avoiding second-hand smoke, and not living near highways or factories. All these methods will help you on your journey towards a cancer free life.
What lung cancer feels like?
Lung cancer may not cause any symptoms in its early stages, but it can still be fatal. Common symptoms include chest pain, coughing up blood (or what looks like coffee grounds), and rapid breathing. Additionally, some people with this cancer may feel tired or experience weight loss.
Cancer patients have different experiences. It’s important to be aware of your body and what you’re going through at all times, because it could save your life. Lung cancer is an especially frightening type of cancer because it’s so difficult to detect until it reaches the late stages.
How often does lung cancer come back?
Lung cancer may come back after treatment. Studies show that on average, lung cancer recurs about 8 years after the diagnosis. Therefore, it’s important to be vigilant about prevention and early detection.
It is estimated that a small percentage of people with this cancer will have a recurrence. Those who had surgery to remove the tumor may have a higher chance, while those who underwent radiation therapy have a lower chance.
If you’re starting to notice symptoms like coughs and difficulty breathing, see your doctor right away because the sooner you’re diagnosed, the better your chances are for survival.
For more information about lung cancer, please feel free check the resources we have listed below.
If you have enjoyed reading this story, you may want to checkout The 5 Warning Signs of Men’s Prostate Cancer.