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Lungs are the most important organ of our body that has the responsibility of taking in the oxygen and releasing out carbon dioxide. When cancer develops in it, the entire body gets imbalanced. Lung cancer leads to more death than any other type of cancer, which is why identifying the symptoms and knowing the causes are instrumental in obtaining a timely diagnosis as well as in prevention of this disease.
Symptoms of Lung Cancer
In the early stages:
- Persistent coughing
- Chest pain
- Loss of appetite
- Sudden weight loss
- Coughing up blood
In the later stages:
Causes of Lung Cancer
Smoking: People who smoke are more prone to lung cancer. With the increase in the number of cigarettes you smoke, your chances of getting lung cancer increase too. People who don't smoke but are surrounded by the smokers also have high chances of being affected by this form of cancer.
Exposure to Asbestos: Asbestos is a group of mineral, which is present naturally in the environment. Lung cancer can occur due to the inhalation and ingestion of asbestos fibers.
Exposure to Ranon Gas: Ranon is a radioactive gas, which is formed naturally on decaying of radioactive elements. It is found in low levels in the air that we breathe and the water that we drink. Consumption of air and water having this gas leads to lung cancer.
High Levels of Air Pollution: Presence of high levels of dust particles and pollutants in the air that we breathe can cause lung cancer. 1-2% of lung cancer is caused because of it.
High Levels of Arsenic in Drinking Water: Consuming water with arsenic content is harmful as it directly affects the lungs and when the arsenic content is too high, it may lead to lung cancer.
Exposure to Chemicals: Exposure to certain chemicals like uranium, coal products, gasoline, diesel exhaust and mustard gas can also cause lung cancer.
Family History of Lung Cancer: Chances of getting lung cancer increase if your parents, child or siblings are already prone to lung cancer. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Pulmonologist.
Hello sir, I am 56years old man, approx two months ago I had a prostrate operation, still I had irritation in my penis (at tube) whenever I pee at pressure what could be the reason.
If prostate cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it targets and goes to the bones first. And, if the cancer has spread outside the prostate, preventing or slowing its spread to the bones is a major goal of treatment.
If the cancer has already spread to the bones, relieving pain and other complications is also a very important part of the cancer treatment. There are a number of ways and means to prevent and treat prostate cancer’s spread to bones.
Understanding them in detail
Bone metastasis or spread of cancer to the bone is an extremely painful condition. This can also cause fractures or potentially fatal conditions like high blood calcium levels. Bone-targeted treatments such as hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and vaccines are used but so are a slew of other treatments more specifically targeting bone metastasis and its side effects. These are:
1. Bisphosphonates: Bisphosphonates are drugs that work by slowing down the reproduction of bone cells or osteoclasts. These cells work by breaking down the hard mineral structure of bones to keep them healthy. These bone cells often become overactive when prostate cancer spreads to the bones.
Bisphosphonates can also be used:
- To help control and relieve bone pain
- To control the high calcium levels caused by prostate cancer metastasizing to bones
- To help slow the growth of cancer
- To help delay or prevent fractures
- To help strengthen bones in men on hormone therapy
Zoledronic acid or Zometa is the most commonly used bisphosphonate for prostate cancer. This is given as an intravenous (IV) injection, usually once every 3 or 4 weeks. The patients on this drug are also advised to take supplements containing calcium and vitamin D to prevent low blood calcium levels. Side effects include flu-like symptoms and bone or joint pain as well as kidney problems and sometimes osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). In ONJ, part of the jaw bone loses its blood supply and dies, leading to tooth loss and infections of the jaw bone.
2. Denosumab: This is another drug that can help when prostate cancer spreads to bones. Like the bisphosphonates, denosumab also works by blocking osteoclasts. This drug is used:
- To help prevent or delay fractures
- To help slow the spread of cancer to the bones despite hormone therapy
- This drug is injected intravenously every 4 weeks.
- Common side effects include diarrhea, nausea, and fatigue.
3. Corticosteroids: These lower bone pain in some men in whom cancer has spread to the bones.
4. External radiation therapy: This helps if the pain is limited to one or only a few areas of bone. Radiation can also be aimed at tumors on the spine and other parts of the body.
5. Radiopharmaceuticals: These are drugs that contain radioactive elements and these are injected into a vein and go and settle in areas of damaged bones, where they give off radiation that kills cancer cells. The major side effects of these drugs is a decrease in blood cell counts which makes the body of the patient more prone to infections and bleeding.
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