Lung Cancer is a disease when certain cells start to function abnormally and multiply rapidly taking over the normal cells. Lung cancer affects the Respiratory System which carries out the daily functions that allow us to breath.
There are several types of Lung Cancer. The most common are: Non-small cell lung cancer and Small cell lung cancer. The more common of the two, which accounts for about 80% of all lung cancers is the non-small cell cancer. It multiplies and develops slower than small cell lung cancer. There are four types of non-small cell lung cancer: Adenocarcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma, Large cell carcinoma, and Adenocarcinoma.
The remaining 20% of all cancers, more closely linked to smoking is the Small cell lung cancer, previously called oat cell cancer. As oppose to non-small cell cancer, this type of cancer grows very fast and by the time it’s diagnosed, it has already spread to other parts of the body.
The symptoms for lung cancer don’t normally appear until later on in the cancer. Some of the symptoms are: a persistent cough, chest pain, coughing up blood, wheezing, fatigue, loss of appetite, inexplicable weight loss, and frequently occurring pneumonia. Once the cancer starts spreading, it usually spreads to the brain, the bones, and the liver. Symptoms of the cancer being spread to the brain are: headaches, seizures, nausea, and vision and mental changes. Symptoms of the cancer being spread to the bones are: bone and back pain or numbness in the legs or arms.
The most common cause for lung cancer is smoking or tobacco use. About 90% of all lung cancers are caused by smoking. Quitting can decrease the risk and the longer you continue not to smoke, the more the risk decreases.
Initially, lung cancer is detected by a chest x-ray. To determine the type of cancer, a microscope is used.
Lung cancer can be treated with surgery, which will remove the cancer, chemotherapy, which uses medicine to kill the cancer, or radiation therapy, which uses high x-rays to kill the cancer cells. The type of treatment depends on the stage and type of cancer. It also depends on one’s health.