What is Lung Cancer?
Cancer is a class of diseases characterized by out-of-control cell growth, and lung cancer occurs when this uncontrolled cell growth begins in one or both lungs. Rather than developing into healthy, normal lung tissue, these abnormal cells continue dividing and form lumps or masses of tissue called tumors. Tumors interfere with the main function of the lung, which is to provide the bloodstream with oxygen to be carried to the entire body. If a tumor stays in one spot and demonstrates limited growth, it is generally considered to be benign.
Lung cancer is called "primary" if the cancer originates in the lungs and "secondary" if it originates elsewhere in the body but has metastasized to the lungs. These two types are considered different cancers from diagnostic and treatment perspectives.
In 2007, about 15% of all cancer diagnoses and 29% of all cancer deaths were due to lung cancer. It is the number one cause of death from cancer every year and the second most diagnosed after breast and prostate cancers (for women and men, respectively). Lung cancer is usually found in older persons because it develops over a long period of time.
l Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
n Squamous cell carcinoma or epidermoid carcinoma. As the most common type of NSCLC and the most common type of lung cancer in men, squamous cell carcinoma forms in the lining of the bronchial tubes.
n Adenocarcinoma. As the most common type of lung cancer in women and in nonsmokers, adenocarcinoma forms in the mucus-producing glands of the lungs.
n Bronchioalveolar carcinoma. This type of lung cancer is a rare type of adenocarcinoma that forms near the lungs' air sacs.
n Large-cell undifferentiated carcinoma. A rapidly growing cancer, large-cell undifferentiated carcinomas form near the outer edges or surface of the lungs
l Small Cell lung Cancer (SCLC)
n Characterized by small cells that multiply quickly and form large tumors.
n Most of the cases are caused by smoking.
l Persistent or intense coughing
l Pain in the chest shoulder, or back from coughing
l Changes in color of the mucus that is coughed up from the lower airways (sputum)
l Difficulty breathing and swallowing
l Hoarseness of the voice
l Harsh sounds while breathing (stridor)
l Chronic bronchitis or pneumonia
l Coughing up blood, or blood in the sputum
l Unexplained weight loss
l Pain in joints or bones
l Problems with brain function and memory
l Swelling in the neck or face
l General weakness
l Bleeding and blood clots
l Choose not to smoke tobacco!
l Don’t drink alcohol!
l Those who have come in contact with asbestos, radon, and secondhand smoke have an increased risk of developing lung cancer.
l If a family member developed a lung cancer, an individual will have a genetic predisposition for developing the disease.
l Screening test for lung cancer does not exist yet. Please prevent!
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