Lungs are two sponge like organs found in chest cavity. It brings air in and out, taking in O2 and getting rid of carbon dioxide gas, a waste product of the body.
The lining, which surrounds the lungs and helps protect them, is called pleura, and the chest cavity is called pleural cavity. The windpipe (trachea) brings air down into the lungs. It is divided into tubes called bronchi, which divide into a smaller branch the bronchus and at the end of bronchioles air sacs known as alveoli.
Most of the lung cancer start in the lining of bronchi but can also begin in other areas of lungs. Due to cancer the cell can break away from the original tumor and spread to other parts of the body. This process is called inetastasis. Lung cancer is a life threatening disease because it often spreads in this way.
In the west lung cancer is the major cause of death among men and women. It is fairly rare in people under the age of 40. The number of cases increases after the age of 50 to 65. The average age of people found to have lung cancer is 60. The one-year survival rate for lung cancer is up from 32% in 1973 to about 40%.
This increase is largely a result of better methods of surgery and some progress in chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The five-year's survival rates of all stages for lung cancer is fourteen percent. For those whose cancer is treated early, before it has spread to lymphnodes or other organs, the average survival rate is 49%.
A risk factor is anything that increases a person's chance of getting a disease such as cancer. Several risk factors make a person more likely to develop lung cancer.
The most important risk factor is tobacco smoking. More than 90% of lung cancer among men are thought to be the result of smoking. If a person stops smoking when precancerous signs are found, the damaged lung tissue often returns to normal, usually within five years. Non smokers who breathe in the smoke of others are also at increased risk for lung cancer.
Tuberculosis and some types of pneumonia often leave scarred areas on the lung. This scarring increases the risk of the person developing a type of lung cancer called adenoearcinoma.
Eath from lung cancer is about seven times more likely to occur among asbestos workers than among the general population. Asbestos workers who also smoke have a lung cancer risk 50 to 90 times greater than that of people-in-general. Because asbestos was used for so many years, it is a good idea to check and see if there might be asbestos in products or in houses before buying them. Cancer causing agents in the work place other risk factors includes chemicals such as arsenic, vinyl, chloride, nickel, chromate, wal products, mustard gas, and cholormethyl ethers.
Radon is a radioactive gas, which cannot be seen, tasted or smelled. It is produced by the natural breakdown of uranium. Outdoors, there is so little radon that it is not a danger. But indoors, radon can be more concentrated and can be come a possible Recently, cancers have been found in houses in some parts of the United States built over soil with natural uranium deposits, which can create high indoor radon levels. State and local offices of the environmental protection agency can provide the name of reliable companies that perform radon testing and renovation. High radon levels in some mines can increase the lung cancer risk of miners.
Vitamin A Deficiency:
People who do not get enough vitamins A are at increased risk of lung cancer. On the other hand, taking too much vitamin A may also increase lung cancer risk.
In some cities, air pollution may slightly increase the lung cancer risk. But this risk is still for less than that caused by smoking.
The way to early detection is prompt medical attention to symptoms. If you have any of the following problems, see a doctor right away. A cough that does not go away, chest pain, hoarseness, weight loss and loss of appetite, bloody or rust colored sputum, shortness of breath, fever without a known reason, recurring infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
These symptoms may be the first warning of lung cancer but may also be caused by noncancerous disease of the lungs, heart, or other organs. But seeing a doctor is the only way to find out whether or not your symptoms are due to the lung cancer. Since symptoms of lung cancer often do not appear until the disease is advanced, only about 15% of the lung cancer cases are detected in the early stages, before it has spread.
If there is a reason to suspect you may have lung cancer, the doctor will use one or more methods to find out if the disease is really present.
Procedures Used To Diagnosis Lung Cancer:
A complete medical history and physical examination. A chest X-ray to look for any mass or spot on lung sputum cytology a study of phlegm (spits) cells under a microscope to see if they are normal or not.
Needle Biopsy:A needle is guided into the mass while the lungs are being viewed on a C.T. scan. A sample of the mass is removed and looked at under the microscope to see if there are cancer cells present. The doctor may want to do other tests and procedure as well.
Types of Lung Cancer:
Lung cancer is usually divided into two major types. The first type is small cell lung cancer or SCLC 25% the second is non-small cell cancer, or NSCLS 75% and includes three sub types. A) Squamous cell carcinoma or SCC B) Large-cell lung carcinoma C) Adenocarcinoma.
Staging is a process that tells the doctor how widespread the cancer may be. It will show if the cancer has spread and how for the treatment and outlook for cancer depend, to a large extent, on its stage.
In recent years, much progress has been made in treating lung cancer with surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Depending on the type and stage of a lung cancer, surgery may be done to remove the cancer and some of the surrounding lung tissue.
Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer drugs that are given into vein or by mouth depending on the type and stage of lung cancer, chemotherapy maybe given as the main treatment. The side effects of chemotherapy depend on the type of drugs, the amount taken and the length of time they are taken. These may include upset stomach and vomiting, loss of or increase in appetite, loss of hair and mouth or vaginal sores.
There can also be an increase in infections, bleeding, low iron in the blood, tiredness, changes in the menstrual cycle and damage to the ovaries or testicles, which result in not being able to have children. There are often ways to lesson the side effects e.g. there are drugs, which help prevent many of the unpleasant effects of chemotherapy.
3. Radiation Therapy:
Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. External beam radiation therapy uses radiation delivered from outside the body that is focused on the cancer. This is the type of radiation therapy most often used to treat lung cancer. Interstitial radiation therapy uses a small pellet of radioactive material placed directly into cancer. Radiation therapy is sometimes used as the main treatment of lung cancer in some patients, especially those, whose general health is too poor to undergo surgery.
After surgery, radiation therapy can be used to kill very small deposits of cancer that cannot be seen and removed during surgery. Radiation therapy can also be used to palliate or ease, symptoms of lung cancer such as pain, bleeding, difficulty swallowing, and problems caused by brain metastases.