What is Lung Cancer?
Lung Cancer is a disease in which certain lung cells don't function right, divide very fast, and produce too much tissue forming a Lung Tumor.
Causes and Risk Factors of Lung Cancer
The number one cause of lung cancer is cigarette smoking, representing 85 to 90 percent of all cases. Other causes include exposure to radon, asbestos, nickel, chloromethyl ether, chromium, beryllium and arsenic (a byproduct of copper), as well as exposure to passive smoke or "secondhand" smoke.
A person is "at risk" of developing lung cancer if they:
> are over the age of 50
> work in industries where substances such as asbestos, nickel, chloromethyl ether, chromium, beryllium and arsenic are used
> have or have had a lung disease
> have a family history of lung cancer
> are former smokers
> have been exposed to secondhand smoke over many years
> have been exposed to radon
|Symptoms of Lung Cancer |
The symptoms may include:
> coughing (when a tumor grew and blocked a passage)
Secondhand Smoke and Lung Cancer
Diagnosis of Lung Cancer
If lung cancer is suspected, the person will have their medical history taken, a physical examination, and a variety of tests to confirm the diagnosis.
During the physical exam, the doctor will look for lymph node enlargement in the neck or in the region above the collarbones, liver enlargement, abnormal abdominal enlargement, and signs of a lung mass. Simple hand palpitations (lightly pressing of areas) are used to find enlargements, while a stethoscope is used to detect lung mass. The doctor will listen for decreased breath sounds, unusual lung noises and areas of dullness in the lung.
The tests may include the following:
* Chest x-ray to look for growths
* Asputum Test (phlegm coughed up from the lung) to detect cancerous cells
Lung Cancer, Frontal Chest X-Ray
* Biopsy (the surgical removal of a small piece of tissue for microscopic examination). There are various methods to obtain a biopsy. One way is with a procedure called a bronchoscopy. A bronchoscopy involves inserting a flexible lighted tube (a bronchoscope) into the person's mouth or nose and guiding it into the bronchi. Other instruments can then be passed through the bronchoscope to remove the sample. Another method is called a percutaneous needle biopsy, in which a needle is inserted through the skin into the lung. With the help of ultrasound or an x-ray, the doctor is able to guide the needle to the cancerous growth and remove a sample.
|Incision for Lung Biopsy |
Pulmonary function test, called a spirometry.
Using a machine called a spirometer, the doctor is able to record the rate at which a person exhales air from the lungs and the total volume exhaled, thus indicating a narrowing or obstruction in the airways.
Depending on the type and stage of the disease, lung cancer can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these treatments.
For non-small cell lung cancers that have not spread beyond the lung, surgery is most often used. Over the past several years, surgical techniques for treating lung cancer have improved greatly.
There are three surgical procedures commonly used to treat lung cancer:
=> Wedge Resection, or Segmentectomy (in which a small section of the lung is removed)
=> Lobectomy (in which an entire section is removed)
=> Pneumonectomy (which involves the removal of an entire lung)
| Chemotherapy - involves giving drugs that are toxic to cancer cells, usually by direct injection into a vein or through a catheter placed in a large vein. It often is given after surgery to get rid of small groups of cancer cells that may remain. Chemotherapy also may slow tumor growth and relieve symptoms in patients who cannot have surgery. |
Lung Cancer - Chemotherapy Treatment
Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy - delivers high-energy x-rays that can destroy rapidly dividing cancer cells. It has many uses in lung cancer:
=> As primary treatment
=> Before surgery to shrink the tumor
=> After surgery to eliminate any cancer cells that remain in the treated area
=> To treat lung cancer that has spread to the brain or other sites