What is Lung Cancer ?
Lung cancer is a condition that causes uncontrollable division of cells in the lungs. This causes tumor growth which decreases a person’s breathing capacity. It starts in the lungs and can spread through the body to lymph nodes or other organs, such as the brain. Cancer that comes from other organs can also spread to the lungs. They are called metastases as cancer cells migrate from one organ to another. Lung cancers are typically classified into two major groups, which are called small and non-small cells. Lung cancer these forms grow differently and are treated differently. It is more common for non-small cell lung cancer than for small cell lung cancer.
As you breathe in, air flows through your mouth or nose, and the trachea through your lungs. The trachea divides into bronchial tubes that enter the lungs and divide into smaller bronchi. These split into smaller branches which are called bronchioles. There are tiny air sacs at the end of the bronchioles known as alveoli.
The alveoli draw oxygen from the inhaled air from the body and extract carbon dioxide from the body while exhaling. The primary functions of the lungs are taking in oxygen and getting rid of carbon dioxide.
Typically, symptoms of lung cancer originate in the cells lining the bronchi and lung sections such as the bronchioles or alveoli.
A thin layer of padding called pleura covers the lungs. The pleura supports the lungs and allows them to move back and forth against the chest wall as they expand and contract at intake. A small, dome-shaped muscle, called the diaphragm, separates the chest from the abdomen under the lungs. The diaphragm goes up and down as you breathe, driving air into and out of the lungs
What Are The Types of Lung Cancer?
Adenocarcinomas account for up to 40 percent of cases of lung cancer. Although adenocarcinomas, like other lung cancers, are associated with smoking, these cancer types are often seen in non-smokers— especially women— who develop lung cancer. Most adenocarcinomas occur in the outer, or secondary, lung regions. They too continue to spread to and beyond the lymph nodes. Adenocarcinoma in situ is a subtype of adenocarcinoma that frequently occurs in the lungs at several locations and spreads along pre-existing alveolar walls.
Symptoms of Adenocarcinomas
- Stomach pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss Weakness and feeling exhausted
- Continuous bleeding
- Low red blood cell counts
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes
Earlier, squamous cell carcinomas were more common than adenocarcinomas; currently, they account for around 25 to 30 percent of all cases of lung cancer. Squamous cell cancers are also known as epidermoid carcinomas most commonly in the bronchi’s central chest region. Most commonly, this type of lung cancer stays within the lung, spreads to lymph nodes and grows very large, creating a cavity.
Symptoms of Squamous
- Flat sore with a scaly crust
- The new sore or raised area on an old wound or ulcer
- Red or rough patch inside your mouth
- Red, raised patch or wart-like sore on or in your anus or genitals
- Small Cell Carcinomas
Large cell carcinomas, also called undifferentiated carcinomas, comprising 10%-15% of all lung cancers. These cancer types have a strong propensity to spread to distant sites and lymph nodes.
Symptoms of Small Cell Carcinomas
- Chronic cough and blood coughing
- Back, shoulder, or chest pain
- Weakness, moderate shortness of breath or achiness
Up to 5 percent of lung cancers account for bronchial carcinoids. Such tumors are usually tiny when diagnosed and most often occur in people under the age of 30-40. Carcinoid tumors may metastasize due to cigarette smoking, and a small proportion of these tumors secrete hormone-like substances. In general, carcinoids develop and spread more slowly than bronchogenic cancers, and many are identified early enough for surgical removal.
Symptoms of Bronchial
- Production of mucus, which can be yellowish-gray or green— occasionally, it may be streaked with blood
- Shortness of breath
- Chest discomfort
What Are the Early Signs of Lung Cancer?
Early lung cancer signs and symptoms of lung cancer are as following:
- A cough that gets worse
- Coughing up blood or rusty sputum
- Chest pain that frequently gets worse with heavy breathing, coughing or laughing
- Appetite loss
- Unexplained weight loss
- Pain & continuous vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling exhausted or sluggish
- Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia
- New onset of wheezing
How Does Lung Cancer Start?
The basic lung cancer causes includes the following:
Lung cancer incidence is closely associated with cigarette smoking, with around 90 percent of lung cancers resulting from tobacco use. The risk of lung cancer rises with the number of cigarettes consumed over time; doctors refer to this risk in terms of smoking history for pack-years.
- Asbestos fibers
Asbestos fibers simply known as asbestos are silicate fibers, which can remain in lung tissue following exposure to asbestos for a lifetime. The workplace is a growing source of asbestos fiber exposure, as asbestos has been commonly used in the past for both thermal and acoustic insulation materials. Exposure to asbestos includes both lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Radon gas is a natural, chemically inert gas that is a result of uranium’s natural decay. This decays to form products releasing a kind of ionizing radiation. Radon gas is a recognized cause of lung cancer, with an estimated 10% of deaths from radon gas in lung cancer.
Although most lung cancers are associated with cigarette smoking, the fact that not all smokers ultimately develop lung cancer indicates that other factors that play a role in causing lung cancer, such as individual genetic susceptibility.
- Lung Disease
The prevalence of some lung diseases, especially chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is correlated with a significantly increased risk of developing different types of lung cancer even after the consequences of concomitant cigarette smoking are removed.
Survivors of non-small cell lung cancers have an increased chance of developing second lung cancer of 2 percent-3 percent each year. The risk of developing second cancers in survivors of small cell lung cancers approaches 5 percent per year.
The risk of developing lung cancer can be increased by air emissions from cars, factories, and power plants. Up to 3 percent of deaths from lung cancer are due to breathing polluted air, and experts agree that prolonged exposure to highly polluted air can present a risk similar to passive smoking for lung cancer growth.
Risk Factors Involved in Lung Cancer
We all are aware that cigarette smoking leads to lung cancer. As well as exposure in non-to some toxic compounds such as arsenic, certain organic chemicals, radon, asbestos, exposure to radiation, air pollution, tuberculosis, and indoor cigarette smoke often raises a person’s risk of developing lung cancer.
- Family History
Family history can raise a person’s risk of developing lung cancer; if you are exposed to other dangers, such as smoking, the risk multiplies. When you have a family member that has lung cancer, you are twice as likely as anyone without a family history of lung cancer to develop cancer. The odds of developing lung cancer are even higher for people who have two or more first-degree relatives (brothers, sisters, parents or children) who have developed lung cancer. Or in the family who or are cancer patients in the past or present.
- Workplace Exposure
Asbestos exposure is well known to cause mesothelioma. Asbestos was once widely used in building materials and insulation, but no longer used. Over the years of their jobs, people who worked in construction, shipbuilding, other forms of manufacturing as firefighters and in other similar fields may have been exposed to asbestos. For all reported mesothelioma cases, 80 percent were associated with workplace exposure to asbestos. Certain contaminants— including arsenic, nickel, and chromium, as well as tar and soot — can also increase the risk of developing lung cancer, particularly for people who don’t smoke.
- Environmental Exposure
Homes and workplaces may harbor chemicals or other substances that increase cancer risk for those living or working in them. Radon is the main suspect. Approximately 20 percent of deaths caused by lung cancer was related to radon exposure in people who have never smoked. Like occupational exposures, for those who smoke, the chances of environmental exposure are that.
- Secondhand Smoke
Exposure to second-hand smoke— the smoke that comes from or is exhaled by smoking from a burning cigarette or another tobacco product— also raises the risk of developing lung cancer. Although it comes in smaller numbers, secondhand smoke inhales the same cancer-causing chemicals.
How to Prevent Lung Cancer?
- Quit Smoking
Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. It’s never too late to stop smoking. Smoking cessation may improve survival for those who are diagnosed with lung cancer. What many people do not know is that an additional risk factor for lung cancer is untreated obstructive pulmonary diseases (such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis).
- Check Radon Level
To non-smokers, screening to radon is the number one thing you can do to avoid lung cancer. Radon is the primary cause of non-smoker lung cancer and the second leading cause of untreated lung cancer. Radon is an odorless gas arising from natural uranium degradation in the soil. The only way to learn if you’re at risk is to check for radon in your house or workplace.
- Do Exercise
Just small levels of exercise can aid in preventing lung tumor. Many research states that even something as easy as twice a week gardening is related to a lower risk of developing lung cancer. Apart from exercising, always concern the best lung cancer hospital for better recommendation.
- Eat Healthily
A fruit-and vegetable-rich diet is related to a lower risk of developing lung cancer. Consider the prevention of lung cancer fun by trying out new foods in the segment on produce. Try to pick a colorful rainbow including dark greens such as spinach and broccoli, onion whites, apple and tomato reds, and orange juice and winter squash.
- Drink Green Tea
It has been shown that green tea removes some of the cell damage caused by smoking, and some studies indicate that people who drink more green tea tend to have a lower risk of lung cancer. Green tea also acts as a lung cancer medication which helps in decreasing the lung tumor.
- Limit Your Alcohol Consumption
Another effective step in avoiding lung cancer is to restrict the consumption of some forms of alcoholic beverages. The high beer and hard liquor intake are associated with an increased risk of developing lung cancer.
Diagnosis of Lung Cancer
Lung cancer diagnosis are often suspected when an irregular spot is found on an X-ray of the chest that is used to diagnose cough or chest pain. These will involve computed tomography (CT) scan of the chest and a biopsy if a nodule or mass is detected.
Lung cancer must be found as early as possible. Some cases can first be identified during the lung cancer screening which is conducted on people who have no symptoms and meet the following criteria:
- Are they between 55 and 80 years old or smoked for a minimum of 30 pack-years
- Continue to smoke or leave in the last 15 years
- Physical Examination
Once suspected of lung cancer, a doctor will conduct a detailed history and physical examination. It is performed to determine lung cancer symptoms and risk factors and to check for any possible clinical signs of the disease.
These may include:
- Abnormal pulmonary sounds
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Unintentional weight loss
- Fingernail clubbing
- Chest X-ray
The X-ray of the chest is typically the first examination performed to determine any issues based on a detailed history and physical. It may indicate mass in the lungs or lymph nodes that are swollen.
- CT scan
A CT scan is always the second phase either to follow up on an irregular X-ray finding in the chest or to determine troubling symptoms in those with regular X-rays in the chest. CT scanning involves a series of X-rays that produce a 3D image of the lungs. Unless the CT is anomalous, the lung cancer diagnosis also requires validation by analyzing a sample of lung tissue.
- Lung Biopsy
Lung biopsy performed to ascertain whether the abnormality is cancer and to ascertain the type of lung cancer. The biopsy material may be collected by bronchoscopy, ultrasound endobronchial, fine needle aspiration, thoracentesis, or mediastinoscopy.
- Sputum cytology
Sputum cytology is the easiest way to confirm the diagnosis and to determine the form of lung cancer, but its use is limited to those tumors which extend into the airways.
What is the Survival Rate of Lung Cancer
Survival rate will give you an indication of which proportion of people with the same cancer form and stage are still alive for a certain amount of time usually 5 years after diagnosis. They can’t tell you how long you’re going to live, but they can help give you a better idea of how likely your treatment is to succeed.
A relative survival rate compares individuals in the general population with the same type and level of cancer. For example, if the5-year relative survival rate for a specific stage of lung cancer or lung tumor is 60 percent, that means that people with that cancer are, on average, around 60 percent as likely as people who do not have that cancer to survive for at least five years after diagnosis.
What Are the Treatment Options for Lung Cancer?
Treatment for lung cancer is available in a variety of ways, depending on the form of lung cancer it has spread and how far. People with non-small cell lung cancer may be treated with, or a combination of, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, laser therapy. Patients with small-cell lung cancer typically undergo radiation therapy and chemotherapy treatment.
It is a choice when cancer inside the body has not spread too far. This is typically the only way to treat lung cancer that is a non-small cell. The doctor removes the lung portion that contains the tumor and the tissue around it. Or you may need to remove the whole of your lung. Upon surgery, you might require radiation or chemotherapy.
Doctors use a computer to guide high-energy X-rays to a tumor. This acts with lung tumor in both non-small cells and small-cells. Via several weeks, you get radiation treatments a few days at a time. You may have it to shrink a tumor before surgery to make it easier to remove or to destroy any cancer cells left behind after surgery. Some people get that together with chemotherapy. This can also help alleviate some of the lung cancer signs, such as pain or bleeding.
These medicines destroy the body’s cancer cells. Combined with radiation therapy, you may get chemo before or after surgery. Your doctor can prescribe one form of chemotherapy or a mix of different chemotherapy. At a treatment center or cancer hospital, you can get them with an IV. A few rounds of treatment may be expected over many weeks.
Stages of Lung Cancer
- Stage 0
Stage 0 is typically curable by surgery alone. It does not require chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Treatments such as CTC, X-ray, radiation. Laser therapy or brachytherapy (internal radiation) can be alternatives to surgery for certain stage 0 cancers.
- Stage I
When you have stage I, surgery may be the only care you need. This can be accomplished either by removing the lung lobe that has the tumor (lobectomy), or by removing a smaller portion of the lung (resection of the arm, segmentectomy, or wedge). It would also remove at least some lymph nodes in the lung and the area between the lungs.
- Stage II
Patients who have stage II and are well enough for surgery typically have cancer removed by lobectomy or resection of the arm. The entire lung (pneumonectomy) is often needed to be removed. This would also kill any lymph nodes known to have cancer in them. The nature of the presence of the lymph nodes and whether or not cancer cells are present at the edges of the tissues removed are critical considerations when preparing the next treatment phase.
- Stage III
Stage III has spread to lymph nodes near to the other lung or in the back and may have also grown into essential chest structures. Some cancers aren’t entirely reversible by surgery. Treatment, as with other stages of lung cancer, is dependent on the general health of the patient. If you are in relatively good health, chemotherapy (chemotherapy) in combination with radiation therapy can help you.
- Stage IV
Stage IV means cancer had spread to areas that are difficult to treat. Treatment options depend on where cancer has spread, how many tumors have spread and general health. When you are otherwise in good health, therapies such as surgery, chemotherapy (chemotherapy), laser therapy, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy will help you live longer and make you feel better by relieving your symptoms, even though they are unlikely to cure you.
Life in Remission
The side effects of Chemo depend on the form of medicines used, the dose and the general health of a patient. The side effects of radiation depend on the radiation dose given, body position and whether the radiation was internal or external.
Here are a few of the side effects of these lung cancer therapies:
The most common side effect of both chemotherapy and radiation is tiredness (fatigue). Even the most healthy individual are likely to be tired, and maybe even a little “foggy-” during treatment — and probably for a while afterward. This is perfectly natural. Encourage the patient to relax as much as possible and cut back on events. When care is done, the energy will revert.
Many chemo medications cause headaches, muscle pains, stomach pains, or even transient nerve damage, which may lead to hands and feet burning, numbness, or tingling. If this happens, your cancer hospital doctor may prescribe medicines that may be of assistance. Never, however, use over-the-counter or herbal medicines without Approval from your doctor, as these can interfere with chemo drugs.
It is understood that certain forms of chemo medicines cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation or diarrhea. A lot of those effects can be avoided or relieved by medicines. It is also normal for patients to find that when on chemo, their taste preferences shift (for example, they can’t handle certain smells). Gastrointestinal radiation-related symptoms tend not to be as extreme as chemo-related symptoms, particularly in patients with pelvic or abdominal radiation.
- Changes in Skin
Chemo medicines typically cause rashes, redness, and other skin irritation. Radiation alone may cause similar symptoms in the treatment area, along with blisters, peeling and swelling. Wearing loose, soft cotton clothing may add to the discomfort. Your doctor can also recommend creams or ointments, or prescribe them.
- Weight Loss or Weight Gain
Many patients suffer from weight loss or weight gain. It is normal for people who take steroids to have an elevated appetite and gain weight in odd areas, such as the cheeks or back. Many patients may have reduced appetite or may have difficulty holding food down (especially if they feel nauseated after the chemo).
- Hair Loss
Hair thinning and hair loss can occur all over the body during chemo. Around that area, radiation therapy to the head and neck can cause hair loss. Yet radiation does not cause hair to fall off on the head anywhere else.
Chemotherapy medicines and radiation can kill all forms of healthy blood cells and cause harm to new ones created by the body. Low levels of red blood cells can lead to anemia that causes tiredness, paleness, shortness of breath, and rapid heartbeat.
- Blood Clotting
Cells that allow blood to clot, called platelets, are another form of blood cell that can be affected, particularly chemo, during cancer treatment. Low platelets may cause bleeding or thrombocytopenia. It may cause small red patches on the skin, swollen or black intestines or vomiting or bleed from the nose, gums or line site.
How Can We Help
As a lung cancer survivor, you’re happy to return to good health following your cancer diagnosis. Yet there are opportunities to strengthen your long-term health after your initial treatment so that you can appreciate the years ahead as a cancer survivor. Follow these simple steps:
Regular exercise following cancer diagnosis increases your sense of well-being and will accelerate your recovery.
When you will exercise you will experience:
- Increased strength and stamina
- Decreased signs and symptoms of depression
- Decreased anxiety
- Increased self-esteem
- Increased healthy sleeping habits
Incorporating physical activity into your everyday life doesn’t take much extra time. Reflect on small steps to make a more healthy life. Take the stairs more often or park further from your destination, and walk the rest of the way.
- Have a Balanced Diet
Vary your diet to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Eat at least 2.5 cups of fruit and vegetables daily
- Choose healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in tuna and walnuts
- Select low-saturated proteins, such as seafood, lean meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, and legumes
- Go for healthier carbohydrate sources, such as whole grains, legumes, fruit and vegetables
This mix of foods will ensure you eat enough of the vitamins and nutrients you need to help keep your body healthy.
- Maintain Good Weight
You may have gained weight through recovery, or lost weight. Try bringing your weight to a good level. Speak to your doctor about what a healthy weight is for you, and the best way to achieve that target.
- Take Enough Sleep
Sleep disorders are more common in cancer patients, including survivors. It may be attributed to physical changes, medication side effects, fatigue or other causes.
Yet having enough sleep is a big part of healing. Sleeping allows you time to rejuvenate and refresh your mind and body to help you perform the best you can when awake the possible. Sleeping well can increase cognitive capacity, enhance hormone balance and lower blood pressure. In general, it can only make you feel better too.
- Get Community Support
The community support group aims to help you with the difficulties you have faced while communicating with others and making them understand your treatment plan. Group members at the community support group discuss what worked for them, often explaining to you how they marked milestones along the way, such as beginning and completing treatments, and other things related to their illness or recovery.