This condition occurs due to the formation of tumours in the lungs. Excessive smoking is the primary cause of this cancer and it affects millions of people around the world. It does not show any symptoms in the early stages and most people mistake them for regular illness. However, the advanced stages of lung cancer can be very dangerous and it can even lead to death in many cases. It is not easy to treat lung cancer and patients have to suffer a lot when it reaches the advanced stage.
Types of Lung Cancer:
It is very important to know about the different types of lung cancer as the treatment varies for them and doctors will carefully examine the type of cancer cells during the diagnosis process.
– Small cell lung cancer : this type of cancer is likely to affect people who have been smoking for many years in large quantities. You should be careful about the symptoms and get yourself examined by a professional to monitor your health condition.
– Non-small cell lung cancer : this is the common term used to address different types of cancers that affect the lungs. Their behaviour will be similar and they often display similar symptoms in most cases. Your doctor will carefully determine the type of cancer and provide treatment according to the results of the diagnosis.
Symptoms of Lung Cancer:
– Patients suffering from lung cancer experience a persistent cough that stays for a long time. It can come all of a sudden and you may have to suffer for many months at a time. When you notice such symptoms and if you have been smoking for a long time, it is time to see your doctor and get a thorough examination as this can be a clear symptom of lung cancer.
– When people have lung cancer in the advanced stage, they may start noticing blood when they cough too much. You should never neglect such symptoms and even a small amount of blood in a cough should signal to warn about lung cancer.
– Most often, such people experience difficulty in breathing and chest pain for an extended duration.
– Even the voice will change slightly with excessive smoking and it becomes hoarse after many years of smoking. You should take these signs seriously and immediately approach your doctor for a detailed diagnosis as this can be an indication of lung cancer.
– Some people even lose weight all of a sudden and this can lead to many other complications. When you notice a drastic weight loss without much change in your diet, you should approach your doctor for a detailed examination.
– Some other symptoms of lung cancer include a headache and this will be more when you do not smoke for a few hours. Along with this, it is also normal to notice bone pain in different regions.
Causes of Lung Cancer:
– Smoking : this happens to be the biggest cause of lung cancer across the world. More than 90 percent of the people having lung cancer is affected due to heavy smoking for many years. Remember that when you start smoking, you are actually inhaling many harmful chemicals and this can easily damage the cells of the lungs. When the quantity increases with time, the damage also increases and finally leads to lung cancer. You should understand that even passive smoking is harmful as you will be still inhaling the same harmful chemicals as smokers and this puts you at risk of getting lung cancer in the long run.
– Radon exposure : This radioactive gas can naturally exist in any place and you need to be aware of such things in your surroundings. Some areas are more prone to such hazards and you should always get your place inspected if you are located in such areas. It can increase your chances of getting lung cancer even if you are not smoking.
– Chemical exposure : Many people work in factories that use chemicals like arsenic, cadmium, nickel, uranium and other petroleum products. Long-term exposure to such substances can lead to lung cancer and you should always wear a protective mask to safeguard your health.
Diagnosis of Lung Cancer:
– Imaging Tests : The patients are sent for X-ray, CT scan along with MRI and PET scans to determine the cancerous cells in the body. It can easily detect small lesions and provide further insights into the condition.
– Sputum Cytology : A microscopic test for the phlegm helps determine the presence of cancerous cells. Some people produce phlegm during coughing and this is used to check for symptoms of lung cancer.
– Bronchoscopy: A tube is inserted into the lungs to examine the area. This gives clarity about the presence of lung cancer in the body.
– Mediastinoscopy : A sample of the lymph nodes is taken using the surgical tools that are inserted after making a hole at the neck region. The patient needs is given anaesthesia to perform this biopsy procedure and the samples collected are tested for cancerous cells.
– Once the samples are obtained, they are tested for cancerous cells and when the results are positive, further tests are conducted to detect the cancer cells in the bones. This helps determine the extent to which cancer has spread in the body and allows the doctors to choose the proper method for treating this condition.
Prevention of Lung Cancer:
– The best way to avoid lung cancer is to never get into the habit of smoking. This is the major cause of lung cancer and it kills millions of people around the world. It can even become addictive for many people and they cannot easily give up smoking once it becomes a habit. For this reason, you should always stay away even from passive smoking when you have friends and family members who smoke regularly in your surroundings. Remember that even passive smoking can give you lung cancer and it is as harmful as direct smoking.
– If you are smoking for many years, you should immediately quit this habit as this can drastically cut down your chances of getting lung cancer in the future. The damage does to your lungs increases with the number of cigarettes you smoke every day and you should cut down on your smoking habit to prevent lung cancer in the future.
– Apart from these harmful things, even other chemicals like radon can give you lung cancer and you should stay away from these substances. Remember that it can even be at your home and you should get the place inspected by professionals. In the same manner, you should also avoid exposure to harmful chemicals at the workplace and always use precautionary equipment like protection masks when you have to work on them. Make sure that you get yourself examined by your doctor regularly when you are working in such an environment.
– Along with these things, you should also maintain a healthy lifestyle and eat a rich diet that contains fresh fruits and vegetables. This can give you nutrition in the best form and you should avoid using supplements as your body may not get to use the complete nutrition in this way. Apart from that, you should also exercise regularly so that your lungs capacity will increase and they will be able to fight against various diseases in the future.
Treatment for Lung Cancer:
– In most cases, patients have to undergo surgery to treat lung cancer and a small section of the lung is removed using the wedge resection method. In this way, the affected area along with some healthy tissues in the surrounding area is removed to treat cancer.
– When the affected area is large, segmental resection is used to remove the affected portion of the lung. In this method, the entire lobe is not removed or hurt in any manner.
– When the situation demands to remove an entire lobe, lobectomy and pneumonectomy procedures are used to treat the patients.
– Along with surgery, you may also have to undergo radiation therapy to reduce the size of cancer. It is usually combined with other treatments like chemotherapy and this will reduce the pain to some extent. It will target the affected area and kill the cancerous cells in the lungs. Chemotherapy will help to kill the cancerous cells across the body and this will help the patients to recover at a faster pace.
– Accumulation of fluids in the chest region is a major complication of lung cancer and it can be dangerous in the long run. It can lead to shortness of breath and the patient gets tired for no reason. The only way to handle the situation is to drain the fluids so that it can reduce the chances of other complications.
– The major problem with lung cancer is that it can spread to other regions and affect them in the long run. When it affects any bone, it can hurt severely and you will have to take medication to control the pain.
– There is a major risk of this disease spreading to the brain and this can lead to various complications including headaches and nausea. It can even affect the different functions of the brain and it becomes very difficult to cure cancer when it has reached this stage. In the same way, it can even affect bones and become very painful in future.
– Most patients suffering from this disease will experience shortness of breath and this happens as the airways get blocked due to cancer. Along with this, the excess fluid accumulation around the lungs in the chest area will not allow the lungs to expand completely during inhalation. This can trigger various complications and the fluids need to be removed at regular intervals to avoid future problems.
– Many people cough blood when they have lung cancer and this can be in small or large quantity depending on other factors and the overall health condition of the patient. However, some medication can treat this issue and control the level of bleeding in such cases.
Myth #1: Lung cancer affects only smokers
This is a complete myth and you need to remember carefully that even non-smokers can get lung cancer due to passive smoking. If your partner or friends smoke often, make sure you move away and tell them to avoid smoking in your presence. Even young kids get affected when parents smoke at home.
Myth #2: Pollution is more dangerous than smoking
While pollution can have some ill effects on the overall health condition, it is not enough to cause lung cancer in people. For this reason, do not assume that smoking is not dangerous and it is only as bad as vehicle pollution. Smoking causes more harm than the regular vehicular pollution and it can even lead to fatal consequences in the advanced stages of cancer.
Myth #3: Lung cancer cannot affect children
This is wrong and many kids who are exposed to passive smoking are often victims of lung cancer. For this reason, you should always avoid smoking in presence of your children as it puts them under risk and it can spoil their health for no reason in the long run.
Myth #4: Lung cancer is always fatal
while advanced stages of cancer can lead to fatal consequences, you should understand that lung cancer can also be treated. However, it must be detected in the early stages and the person must completely quit smoking after being diagnosed with this disease. If the patient is able to maintain a healthy lifestyle and gets proper treatment at the right time, treating lung cancer becomes possible and the patients can lead a normal life in the future.
In this way, you need not panic when you are diagnosed with lung cancer as it can be treated using modern procedures and you can still lead a normal life. The only thing you need to take care is to quit smoking or at least reduce the quantity so that you can stay away from cancer. Along with this, proper diagnosis on a regular basis will help you to detect cancer early and you can take treatment in the initial stages to avoid fatal consequences in future.