There may be no more serious and fretful condition than lung cancer. Lung cancer occurs when the cells within the lungs mutate into cancerous ones. These cancerous cells grow out of control.
Lung cancer causes the most cancer based deaths in the United States each year.
When it comes to getting cancer, people who are smokers have the highest risk. Second hand smoke can also be very dangerous. Despite this main risk factor, people who have never smoked can also get lung cancer. Quitting smoking is the best way to reduce the chances of lung cancer. Since it can be so dangerous for people to get lung cancer, avoidance is the best option. If it can’t be avoided, then early detection helps. Learning more about lung cancer can only increase the chances of avoiding terrible results.
Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer
One of the biggest problems with lung cancer is that the symptoms don’t appear quickly. Typically the early stages of lung cancer don’t give warning. However, as the disease advances, many symptoms become prevalent. Some of these symptoms include:
- Developing a Cough That Seems to Resist All Treatment
- Coughing Blood
- Feeling a Shortness of Breath and Struggling to Breathe Deeply
- Chest Pains
- Unexpected Weight Loss
- Feeling Hoarse
- Bone Pains
If you have any signs or symptoms, it’s time to check with a doctor so they can examine the situation further and determine if it might be lung cancer.
Types and Stages of Lung Cancer
In order to determine what type of lung cancer a person has, the cancerous cells will need to be examined. The rarer form of lung cancer is small cell lung cancer. This type of cancer is mostly exclusive to people who have spent their life smoking. The second type of cancer is non small cell lung cancer. This actually includes multiple different types. These lung cancer types include:
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma
- Large Cell Carcinoma
The stages of cancer range from I to IV. These stages are used in order to help treatment plans get formed. The stages refer to how large the cancer has become and if it has spread to other parts of the body. Stage I is for small tumors confined to the location the cancer started. Stage 2 and 3 is for large tumors. It’s also used when the cancer has spread. Stage 4 is when the cancer has spread throughout the lymph nodes, and elsewhere into other organs in the body. For example Stage 4 cancers elsewhere could result in metastatic lung cancer.
Potential Treatments of Lung Cancer
A doctor may perform a large battery of tests to determine if someone has lung cancer. In addition, if cancer is discovered, doctors will need to figure out just how large the cancer has become and if it’s spread. Treatment will often include chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Chemotherapy is actually a series of drugs which are taken through an IV. These drugs are harsh and the side effects can be tough. However, it’s been shown to often shrink cancers. Radiation therapy involves the use of X-rays or other beams. They are targeted at the cancer and the radiation works to stop the growth of it.
Surgery is often required as well to remove a part of the lung. This is typically only used when the cancer is strictly located within one lung. Each type of surgery essentially removes a little bit more of the lung. Types of surgery include: wedge resection, segmental resection, lobectomy, and pneumonectomy.