This is a frequently diagnosed type of cancer, which begins in the lungs. Lung cancer actually is the leading cause of cancer related deaths in the United States. Both men and women are affected by lung cancer each year. In fact, this serious condition causes more deaths than colon, ovarian, breast and prostate cancers, all combined. Individuals who are heavy smokers have an increased risk of developing this type of cancer. The risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer is higher for individuals who smoke for many years, in high quantities. Quitting smoking reduces the chances of developing this disease.
Below you can read a series of facts and information on lung cancer. Make sure to consider them all if you have reasons to suspect that you might be at risk of developing this disease.
The main signs and symptoms of lung cancer include:
- Coughing up blood;
- Chest pain;
- Cough that does not go away, despite regular treatment;
- Changes in chronic cough or smoker’s cough;
- Bone pain;
- Losing weight with no particular reason;
Seeing a doctor is a must as soon as you feel that there may be something wrong with your health. Make an appointment with a specialist when signs and symptoms that may worry you are felt. Do that as soon as possible, as this way you may get an early diagnosis and easier improve your health.
It is a well known fact that the most common cause of lung cancer development is smoking. Smokers, as well as people exposed to secondhand smoke have an increased risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer. Still, the disease can be found in people who have never smoked, too.
Risk factors of lung cancer development include:
- Exposure to secondhand smoke;
- Family history of lung cancer;
- Excessive alcohol consumption;
- Exposure to radon gas;
- Exposure to asbestos and other chemicals.
The signs and symptoms of lung cancer can easily be associated to other conditions, too. This is why specialists will recommend screening with the purpose to diagnose lung cancer. Screening can save lives, as when the cancer is found earlier, it has higher chances of being cured quicker and more successfully. A specialist may recommend you one of the following tests:
- Imaging tests;
- Sputum cytology;
- Tissue sample.
After being diagnosed, lung cancer is staged. This means that specialists will try to find out in which stage the cancer is found in the patient’s body. Stages show the advancement, as well as the growth of the cancerous cells, being important for treatment, too. Depending on the stage of the cancer, doctors will recommend a certain type of treatment.
Stage I: The cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes.
Stage II: The cancer has started to grow, affecting nearby structures. The lymph nodes are not affected.
Stage III: The tumor has moved to lymph nodes and even farther away, affecting nearby organs.
Stage IV: The cancer has spread, affecting even distant parts of the body.
Depending on the stage of the disease, treatment can include therapy, as well as surgery. Commonly in stages 1 and 2, the most recommended medical intervention is surgery. Sometimes chemotherapy or radiation therapy can be administrated to patients. In stage 3 treatment will include combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy, while surgery can sometimes be an option, depending on the results. In stage 4 chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy and supportive care will be used in the treatment of lung cancer.
Such as in the case of all types of cancers, lung cancer is easier to cure when found in one of its early stages. When the cancer grows, it starts spreading, becoming harder to cure.