Lung Cancer is a condition that causes uncontrollable division of cells in the lungs. This results in tumor growth, which decreases a person's breathing capacity. It starts in the lungs and can spread through the blood or lymph nodes to other organs of the body. The process through which cancer cells travel and affect other organs is called metastasis. Lung cancers are typically classified into two major groups, called Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC) and Non Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC), the latter of which is more common. These two types of Lung Cancer have different symptoms and their mode of treatment varies as well.
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 draws oxygen from the inhaled air and releases carbon dioxide, which is exhaled from the body.
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. 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.
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 in women. 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
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 found in the bronchi's central chest region. In most cases, this type of Lung Cancer stays within the lungs, spreads to lymph nodes, and grows very large, creating a cavity. Symptoms of Squamous
Large cell carcinomas, also called undifferentiated carcinomas, comprise 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
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 Lung Cancer 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
Early Lung Cancer signs and symptoms are as following:
The basic Lung Cancer causes include the following:
We are all aware that cigarette smoking can lead to Lung Cancer. Exposure to toxic compounds such as arsenic, certain organic chemicals, radon, asbestos, exposure to radiation, air pollution, tuberculosis, and indoor cigarette smoke can also raise a person's risk of developing Lung Cancer.
Family history can raise a person's risk of developing lung cancer; and if you are exposed to other factors , 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) with lung cancer, or have anyone in the family with a history of developing Lung Cancer.
Asbestos exposure is well known to cause mesothelioma. Asbestos was once widely used in building materials and insulation, but is no longer in use now. Over the years of their jobs, people who worked in construction, shipbuilding, manufacturing companies 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.
Homes and workplaces may harbor chemicals or other substances that can increase the risk of Lung Cancer for people who frequent these places. Radon is the main suspect of Lung Cancer caused by occupational exposure. Approximately 20 percent of deaths caused by Lung Cancer is related to radon exposure in people who have never smoked.
Exposure to exhaled smoke by smokers results in the situation when a non-smoker becomes a victim of passive smoking. In such cases, non-smokers also develop the risk of Lung Cancer. Although in smaller amounts, passive smokers inhale the same carcinogenic chemicals of Tobacco.
Smoking is the leading cause of Lung Cancer. It's never too late to stop smoking. The cessation of smoking may improve survival rates for those who are diagnosed with Lung Cancer. What many people do not know is that an additional risk factor for Lung Cancer are untreated obstructive pulmonary diseases (such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis).
For non-smokers, radon screening is the primary thing you can do to avoid Lung Cancer. Radon is the primary cause of Lung Cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause of untreated Lung Cancer. Radon is an odorless gas released from natural uranium degradation in the soil. The only way to learn if you're at risk is to check the radon levels in your house or workplace.
Short exercise routines can aid in preventing Lung Cancer tumors. Research states that even something as easy as jogging everyday is related to a lower risk of developing Lung Cancer. Apart from exercising, always consult the best Lung Cancer hospital for an exercise plan during treatment or post Cancer Treatment.
It has been studied 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 size of the lung tumor.
Lung cancer must be found as early as possible. For early diagnosis, an initial Lung Cancer screening is recommended for people who have no symptoms and meet the following criteria:
Once suspected of lung cancer, a doctor will conduct a physical examination and will need the detailed history of the patient. Various Blood Tests are also performed to determine Lung Cancer symptoms and risk factors and to check for any possible clinical signs of the disease. Physical signs may include:
The X-Ray of the chest is typically the first examination performed to determine any issues based on the detailed history and physical test. It may indicate mass in the lungs or lymph nodes that are swollen.
A CT scan is always the second phase, either to follow up on an irregular X-Ray finding in the chest or if the cause of troubling symptoms is not clear to the doctor yet. 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 is done 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 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.
Treatment for Lung Cancer is available in a variety of ways, depending on the type of lung cancer, and how far it has spread. People with non-small cell Lung Cancer may be treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, laser therapy. Patients with small-cell Lung Cancer typically undergo Radiation therapy and Chemotherapy treatment.
This is one of the primary choices of patients for whom Lung Cancer has not spread to other parts of the body. This is typically the only way to treat non-small cell Lung Cancer. The doctor removes the lung portion that contains the tumor and the tissue around it. After surgery, some patients may require radiation or Chemotherapy.
Doctors use a computer to guide high-energy ionizing rays to a tumor. This therapy is used in both non-small cells and small-cells lung tumors. Patients usually undergo radiation treatment across several weeks, for alternative days. Doctors may prescribe it to shrink a tumor before Surgery to make it easier to remove or to destroy any cancer cells that are left behind after Surgery. Coupled with chemotherapy, this can also help alleviate some of the Lung Cancer signs, such as Pain or bleeding.
Chemotherapy medicines destroy the body's cancer cells. Patients may get Chemotherapy before or after surgery, and is typically combined with a few rounds of Radiation therapy. Doctors can prescribe one form of Chemotherapy or a mixture of different chemotherapy, which can be administered through intravenous (IV) at the best cancer hospitals. A few rounds of treatment may be expected over several weeks.
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.
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). Doctors may also remove at least some lymph nodes in the lung and the area between the lungs.
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 is often needed to be removed (pneumonectomy). 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.
In Stage III, Lung Cancer has spread to lymph nodes, to the other lung and may have also spread 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 means cancer has spread to areas that are difficult to treat. Treatment options depend on the areas to which the cancer has spread, size of the tumors, and the general health of the patient. If the patient is in good health, therapies such as Chemotherapy (chemotherapy), laser therapy, immunotherapy, and Radiation therapy will help to live longer and make them feel better by relieving the symptoms, even though a complete cure is unlikely.
The side effects of Chemotherapy 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, the area where the radiation was administered, 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 individuals are likely to be tired, and maybe even a little “foggy” during treatment — and probably afterwards as well. This is perfectly natural. Encourage the patient to relax as much as possible and cut back on events. With optimal care, energy will revert back with time.
Many chemo medications cause headaches, muscle pains, stomach pains, or even transient nerve damage, which may lead to the burning of hands and feet, numbness, or tingling. If this happens, your cancer hospital doctor may prescribe medicines that may be of assistance. However, avoid using 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).
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.
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).
Chemotherapy medicines and radiation can attack 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.
Cells that allow blood to clot, called platelets, are another form of blood cell that can be affected primarily because of Chemo, during Cancer Treatment. Low Platelets may cause bleeding or thrombocytopenia. It may cause small red patches on the skin, Vomiting or bleeding from the nose, or gums.
As a Lung Cancer survivor, you're happy to return to good health following your cancer diagnosis. Yet, there are steps you should take 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 after cancer diagnosis increases your sense of well-being and will accelerate your recovery. When you exercise, you will experience:
Incorporating physical activity into your everyday life doesn't take much extra time. Reflect on small steps to lead a more healthy life. Take the stairs more often or park further from your destination and walk the rest of the way.
Choosing such a healthy combination of nutrients will ensure you get the dose of the vitamins and nutrients you need to help keep your body healthy.
You may have gained weight through recovery or lost weight. Try bringing your weight to a good level. Speak to your doctor about what would be a healthy weight for you, and the best way to achieve that target.
Try to live a lifestyle which is free of carcinogenic compounds. Choose organic products and check the radon levels of your home and workplace to lead a cancer-free life. It is imperative to life healthily and making the right decisions when choosing home products and making lifestyle choices.
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