Lung Cancer

estimated_mortality.jpg Lung cancer (bronchogenic carcinoma) is one of the most common type of cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths in US. As all other cancers it occurs due to abnormality in the cells causing uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that makes difficulties in lung function. This happens due to destruction of cells balance system. Body keeps producing new abnormal cells that form mass known as tumor.
It can occur in one or both of the lungs.




Estimated mortality of lung cancer in 2005



There are two main forms of lung cancer. These are:

NON SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER (NSCLC) - most common type of lung cancer. Subtypes of this cancer are:
- Squamous cell carcinoma - affects about 29% of lung cancer patients starting in larger bronchi. It grows slow and size of this tumor are different.
- Adenocarcinoma - most common subtype occurring in 32% of the cases. It starts near the lung surface for gas exchanging. Although the largest number of cases are associated with smoking it is the most common type of lung cancer occurring in nonsmokers.
- Large cell carcinoma - is less common for affecting about 9% of patients. It grows very fast near the lung surface.

SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER (SCLC) - also called "oat cell carcinoma" is rare form of lung cancer starting in the larger breathing tubes. It grows fast and is caused by smoking in most number of cases.

There are few more types that are very rare. Those are : Carcionid, Adenoid cystic carcinoma, Cylindroma, Mucoepidermoid carcinoma.

cigarette.jpgThe most common and main cause of this disease is tobacco smoke which doesn't affect only smokers than non-smoking persons are affected too due to breathing near the smoking area.
There are about 4000 different chemicals in tobacco smoke and many of them are carcinogens (cancer-causing substances).

The second cause of this disease is Radon gas that can be found everywhere since it comes under the soil. It is cause of death in about 12% of lung cancer cases. It isn't possible to see or smell this gas so the only way of detection is by measuring its levels. In combination with tobacco smoke it increases chances of lung cancer dramatically.

Besides carcinogens there are three more causes:

- Radiation
- Genetic
- Viral infections

The symptoms of lung cancer may include:

- chronic cough that doesn't go away
- coughing up blood (hemoptysis)
- chest or abdominal pain
- fever
- shortness of breath (dyspnea)
- fatigue
- loss of appetite and weight
- fingernails clubbing
- hearse voice
- wheezing (hard breathing)
- swallow difficulties
- often bronchitis attacks

There are many ways of diagnosing lung cancer. Those are history and physical examination, X-ray, CAT scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), bone scans, sputum cytology, bronchoscopy, needle biopsy, thoracentesis, mediastinoscopy, thoracotomy and blood tests.

There are many types of treatment for lung cancer and it depends on many parameters. Same like in menu other forms of cancer, surgery is the main type of treatment but it can be performed only if disease hasn't spread to the specific point. Although sometimes it is the only option, surgery may be very hard especially for patients who don't have enough functional lung. Lung cancer surgery has death rate of 5%.
Other types of treatment may include: chemotherapy, adjuvant chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiotherapy and interventional radiology.