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Overview

Lung Cancer - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer starts from the lungs and spreads to other body parts. In most cases it starts in the airways of the lungs, known as alveoli and bronchioles. There are over 20 types of lung cancer. The cause of most lung cancers is smoking, both from smoking and passive smoking. People who never smoke are also prone to get it and the cause in such cases isn’t known.

The two major types of lung cancer based on the microscopic appearance are:

  • Small-cell lung cancer: It is the major type of lung cancer and affects smokers exclusively.
  • Non small-cell lung cancer: It is a term for lot of different lung cancer types that have similarities. Large-cell carcinoma, squamous-cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma all come under this category.

Chemotherapy aims at killing cancer cells. Drugs might be administered by a vein, usually in the arm or through the oral route. Multiple drugs are generally given over few months. A surgeon removes the cancer and some part of the adjacent healthy tissue.

Here are the procedures done to obliterate lung cancer:

  • Wedge resection- A small part of the lung that has the tumour with marginal healthy tissue is removed.
  • Segmental resection- A larger part of the lung is removed.
  • Lobectomy- A whole lobe of the lung is removed
  • Pneumonectomy- An entire lung is removed

Radiation therapy employs energy beams obtained from protons and X-rays for killing the cancerous cells. It can be done externally or may be placed within the body close to the affected area through seeds, catheters or needles.Palliative care, a specialty medicine field, involves a doctor’s help to reduce symptoms and signs.

Alternative and complementary lung cancer treatment options are available to reduce symptoms and signs, even though they may not be able to cure cancer:

  • Meditation- It involves focusing on a thing like an image, sound or idea. It helps reduce distress and improves the life quality of cancer patients.
  • Yoga- It includes stretches with meditation and deep breathing. It helps with sleep. An instructor can guide you through the exercises and movements. Don’t do stretches that strain you or feel uncomfortable.
  • Acupuncture- A trained professional puts in tiny needles in specified points in the body during an acupuncture session. It may reduce pain and the side effects of cancer treatment. However, there isn’t any evidence that acupuncture affects the cancer in any way.
Treatable by medical professional Require medical diagnosis Lab test not required Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong Non communicable
Symptoms
It generally doesnt have any symptoms. When the symptoms start appearing , they can be scary like blood in the mucus. Wheezing with chest pain Swollen face and neck Difficulty in swallowing Severe headaches, body pain and fatigue

Popular Health Tips

Why Tobacco Causes Cancer?

MBBS, DNB Gen Surgery, DNB Surgical Oncology
Oncologist, Bangalore
Why Tobacco Causes Cancer?

Conventional wisdom makes us believe that the only type of cancer caused due to smoking is lung cancer. However, recent studies have greatly detailed the fact that smoking or the consumption of tobacco products can cause esophagus, pancreas, liver, kidney, stomach, among other types of cancer.

The Various Chemical Carcinogens Present In Tobacco
Thus, smoking is by far the largest preventable cause of cancer. The solution is simple: stop smoking. Tobacco products contain certain elements that are widely believed to cause cancer. These elements also referred to as carcinogens are either naturally part of the tobacco producing plant or are added to it by the tobacco manufacturer. The latter carcinogens include benzene, certain tobacco-specific nitrosamines, and formaldehyde. The quantity and the specificity of carcinogens differ from manufacturer to manufacturer and country to country.

Continuous consumption of products which contain carcinogens will inevitably result in the formation of cancer. The IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) has already designated certain chemicals found in tobacco and tobacco-related products as human carcinogens.

The Effects of the Chemical Carcinogens -
It must be emphasized that there is no safe way to consume tobacco. From cigarettes and pipes to smokeless tobacco and cigars – all of them lead to the same result. Chemicals found in tobacco reduce the ability of our immune system, making it harder for it to kill cancerous cells. This ensures that cancerous cells simply multiply without it being stopped or killed. Moreover, the same chemicals also alter the “DNA structure” and the instructions of the DNA which leads to cells growing out of control and abetting the cancerous tumor.

How do the carcinogens enter our bloodstream?
These chemicals are delivered into our bloodstream by virtue of us breathing in the smoke. Once the chemicals enter our bloodstream, it travels to all parts of our body – carrying this carcinogenic chemical. Non-smokers who stand beside individuals who are smoking (secondhand smoking) become passive smokers, also inhale the harmful smoke. The World Health Organization estimates that 10% of all smoking-related deaths are due to passive or secondhand smoking.

How long does it take for cancer to develop?
While there is no specific time-frame linking consumption of tobacco to development of cancer, it is estimated that it takes many years or even decades for the cancer to develop. Our body’s immune system is vested with the power to cope up with limited damage, however, persistent smoking tendencies and the chemical carcinogens entering our bloodstreams – irreversibly damage the DNA in many lung cells.

Thus, in conclusion, it is highly advisable to quit smoking sooner rather than later. Tobacco causes long-term and irreparable damage to our bodily organs. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3371 people found this helpful

4 Possible Factors That Can Lead To Lung Cancer!

MBBS, Md - Radiation Oncology
Oncologist, Hyderabad
4 Possible Factors That Can Lead To Lung Cancer!

Lungs are the two organs which is in our chest which helps to with the absoption of oxygen when we inhale and exhale carbon dioxide when we release it. Lung cancer is probably the leading cause of death caused by cancer in both men and women throughout the world. Within the past 25 years lung cancer has overshadowed breast cancer as the superior cause of deaths. Cancer generally occurs when the cells undergo any transformation which allows them to abnormally grow and multiply without any control and thus they spread to different portions of the body.

Symptoms for lung cancer

Difficulty in breathing, pain in the chest and coughing up blood are some of the primary symptoms of lung cancer. Some other symptoms may include may include, infection in the respiratory organs such as pneumonia or bronchitis might be an early sign for lung cancerWhen there is an increase in calcium level. When the potassium level decreases or when there is a formation of a new bone along the arms or legs. When a smoker or a former smoker starts coughing persistently then it should be a serious concern for them as it may be a sign of lung cancer.

Although chest pain is very common, you can say it is for the lung cancer when the pain remains persistent. If the lung cancer begins to affect the brain, then it might cause weakness in some body parts or might cause difficulties in the vision. A sudden weight loss or a feeling of uneasiness while eating and even loss of hunger or appetite, with you feeling that you are full just at the beginning of your meal.

Causes and risks related to lung cancer

There are several causes which leads to this sort of cancer in the lungs:

  • Smoking: probably about 90% of lung cancer have arrived due to the use of tobacco.
  • Passive smoking: The non smokers who inhale the smoke of tobacco excelled by the smokers have equal amount of risk for developing lung cancer.
  • Exposure to various gases: Radon is one such radioactive natural gas which emits radiation which is estimated to have caused about 12% death through lung cancer.
  • Air pollution: Dust particles from vehicles Industries or power plants awesome exhaust from the same can cause lung cancer when inhaled.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2531 people found this helpful

Effects Of Smoking - How Smoking Affects Your Lungs?

MBBS, DNB - Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy & Sleep Disorders
Pulmonologist, Noida
Effects Of Smoking - How Smoking Affects Your Lungs?

Smoking can have adverse effects on your health that may result in a number of diseases, and also can degrade the overall health condition. Thus, every packet of cigarette comes with the warning “Smoking is injurious to health”. Yet, for those who are habituated to it, it can be extremely difficult to heed the caution and quit.

If you are one of those smokers contemplating quitting, here are some of the compelling reasons to embark on the road to good health immediately. Read on to know about the long-term effects that smoking can have on your lungs:

1. The cleaning of the lungs gets disrupted
Every time you smoke, the harmful chemicals that cigarette contains lead to damaging your breathing and scaring your lungs in some way. As a result of smoking, the cleaning system of the lungs is greatly disrupted. The lungs have ‘Cilia' or broom like hairs that play a crucial role in cleaning the lungs. When you start smoking, the functioning of the cilia starts to slow down, and this goes on for several hours, interfering with the functioning of the lungs.

2. Increases the inflammation as well as irritates
Just like humans age, so do the lungs. With aging, it's very normal for your lungs to not function as effectively as they used to once. However, smoking makes the aging of the lungs faster. Plus, the airways of the lungs also get inflamed and irritated by smoking and as a result become narrower and disrupt the normal air flow.

3. Tissue damage and poor immunity become evident
Smoking not only injures the lung tissues but also causes the immunity power of the lungs to decrease. While on one hand, the damaged tissues lead to decreased blood vessels and air spaces in the lungs, which disrupts the normal oxygen level in the blood, on the other hand, smoking impairs the natural defense power of the lungs, making the lungs more prone to critical lungs condition.

4. It may cause a number of lung conditions
Ranging from asthma, wheezing, to coughs and colds, smoking can lead to serious lungs diseases such as emphysema, breathing issues, breathlessness, pneumonia, chronic bronchitis and even lung cancer. Smoking can also cause the debilitating and progressive disease, COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to develop.

No matter whether you smoke a pipe or a cigar, as long as they contain cancer-causing chemicals in them, smoking poses a serious threat to your health. 

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2722 people found this helpful

The Link Between Smoking And Lung Cancer!

MBBS, M.S., MCh - Surgical Oncology
Oncologist, Bangalore
The Link Between Smoking And Lung Cancer!

By far smoking is considered the most common and predictable cause of cancer. Years of study and research has established a link between the two, but what exactly gets smoking to cause cancer, still remains unknown to many people. This article talks about why and how smoking is associated with lung cancer.

How does smoking lead to lung cancer?
Cigarettes contain as many as 60 harmful chemicals such as Benzene, Polonium 210, Nicotine, Hydrogen cyanide, Carbon monoxide, Ammonia, Arsenic etc. which cause damage to the DNA cells including the genes that keep us protected against cancer. These chemicals adversely affect your lungs. The initial symptoms include wheezing and coughing, and can lead to further complications if not paid attention at an early stage.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an inflammatory disease of the lungs which obstructs airflow resulting in respiratory troubles like emphysema and chronic bronchitis. People with COPD find it difficult to breath because of narrowed airways and damaged lung tissues.

How long does it take for smoking to cause lung cancer?
Although the initial symptoms such as a ‘smoker’s cough’ can be dismissed in the early stage, it usually takes a decade or many years of smoking to get your DNA cells damaged. Even though the human body is designed to cope with certain health problems and damage, it becomes difficult for your system to fight the harmful chemicals present in cigarettes and tobacco. Studies show that for every 15 cigarettes you smoke, your DNA undergoes change which can cause a cell to become cancerous.

According to a study by the American Lung Association, almost 80% of lung cancers result from smoking. It is most common among people over 50 years of age who have been smoking for a prolonged time. Further research studies show that life expectancy among current smokers drop by 10 years or more, while those who quit smoking at an early stage manage to survive few more years.

How to prevent lung cancer?
Now that we’ve established the link between smoking and lung cancer, the next big thing would be to prevent the risk of getting affected by it. The most effective way of preventing lung cancer is to stop smoking. Even if you have been smoking for a long time, it is never too late to quit. You may find it hard to resist smoking initially, but do not give up. Consult your doctor, ask for help. He will most likely prescribe you anti-smoking drugs like Zyban and Chantix. One alternative to anti-smoking medication is the Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). NRT helps reduce the urge for nicotine in your body by giving you a controlled amount of nicotine that is free from any of the harmful chemicals present in cigarettes.

Awareness is the key to prevention. Even if you find it hard to quit smoking, remind yourself why you made a decision to quit, of the long-term effects smoking has on your health, and how it can lead to a life-threatening condition.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3284 people found this helpful

Radiotherapy - Is It Beneficial For Lung Cancer?

MD - Radiation Oncology, MBBS, Diploma in Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases (DTCD)
Oncologist, Delhi
Radiotherapy - Is It Beneficial For Lung Cancer?

As much as you want to avoid, there are things you have no control over. Lung cancer (Bronchogenic Carcinomas) is one such nemesis that can throw life in shambles. The malignant tumor that originates in the lungs slowly spreads onto the other distinct and vital organs as well. Thought to be mostly affecting men who are chain smokers and into severe tobacco consumption, incidences of lung cancer in women are rising at an alarming rate over the past few years. Non-smokers may also be susceptible (to a lesser extent though) to lung cancer.

Lung cancer can be either

  • Non-small cell lung cancers: The NSCLC, accounting for ~85% of the lung cancer is one of the most common types of lung cancer affecting people, NSCLC may further be divided into
  • Adenocarcinoma: This type of NSCLC originates mostly in the peripheral regions of the lungs and may affect (spread) the lymph nodes. Non-smokers and women are mostly at the receiving end (other than the chain smokers).
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Also known as Epidermoid Carcinoma, often affects men, epidermoid carcinoma may originate in the tissues that line the bronchial tubes. The lymph nodes are often affected by Epidermoid Carcinoma.
  • Large-cell Undifferentiated Carcinoma: The point of origin of large-cell undifferentiated carcinoma is the surface of the lungs. They have a higher probability of spreading to the lymph nodes.
  • Bronchioalveolar Carcinoma: Though rare, bronchioalveolar carcinoma originates close to the air sacs.
  • Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC, accounting for ~25% of the lung cancer): As the name suggests, SCLC is marked by the rapid proliferation of small cells into large malignant tumors. SCLC can move throughout the body (affecting vital organs).

Radiotherapy to treat Lung cancer:
Radiotherapy plays a pivotal role in the treatment of lung cancer. The radiation therapy is mainly of two types

  • External beam radiation therapy (EBRT)
  • Internal radiation therapy (Brachytherapy)

In external beam radiation therapy, high-energy rays are focused on the cancer cells (thereby resulting in the apoptosis of the cancer cells) externally, from outside the body. EBRT is particularly helpful in case of Non-small cell lung cancers.

The EBRT may be of the following types

  • 3D-CRT (Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy): An advanced radiation therapy, 3D-CRT accurately marks the position of the cancer cells (using advanced computers). The treatment ensures minimum damage to the other healthy cells and tissues (energy rays are directed at the affected cells from different positions).
  • SBRT (Stereotactic body radiation therapy): This is a radiation therapy used in the treatment of NSCLC, when it is at a nascent stage.
  • IMRT (Intensity modulated radiation therapy): As the name suggests, in IMRT, the intensity of the radiation reaching the normal tissues and cells can be modulated. Like 3D-CRT, the radiation in IMRT is directed from different angles (for maximum results).
  • Internal radiation therapy (Brachytherapy): This type of radiation therapy is generally used to deal with lung cancers that tend to block the airways. In this therapy, the radiation process is carried out through a narrow tube, thereby, shrinking and collapsing the tumor.

The effect, dosage, and duration of radiation therapy depend on the stage and severity of the condition. In some cases, radiation therapy may be given together with chemotherapy.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2818 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

I have been smoking and drinking for last 35 years. Who are the doctors who can check me up? What are the tests for oral cancer and lung cancer? Where these test can be done? I need to find if there is any problem in initial stage only. Thank you.

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, MS - ENT
ENT Specialist, Trivandrum
First all All those who smoke need not get cancer and all those who have cancer need not be a smoker. It's just the people who has oral or lung cancer are mostly smokers. Hence don't worry about it. If you have any problems like Persisting oral ulcer or oral bleed, Breathing difficulties, Any swellings etc then you should consult a ENT specialist. You can get a flexible naso laryngoscopy done for visualizing you airway. You can also get an MRI done for further evaluation. A Doctor can suggest you whether you need to do these test or not.
1 person found this helpful

Sir mere father ko liver cancer hua hain or wo lungs ir gall balldar me poch gya h kya app meri help mrenge mujhe kya krna hain.

MD - Radiotherapy
Oncologist, Vadodara
Sorry to know about your father. My guess from your information might be GallBladder Cancer spreading to Liver and Lungs than the other way. Kindly discuss the case with a Radiation or Medical Oncologist for further guidance.
1 person found this helpful

I have a lung cancer stage 3. Nowadays I take chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Can I eat fish, mutton or chicken during treatment.

MD - Radiotherapy
Oncologist, Vadodara
You can take those things but avoid hot, spicy,stale and hard food stuff. Better avoid fruits with thin outer peel. Contact your treating Oncologist for guidance from time to time.
2 people found this helpful

My father has 4th stage lung cancer. Recently he had 1st cycle of chemo. But after chemo he is vomiting. I want to know is it normal and how long will it last. Please help.

MD - Radiotherapy
Oncologist, Vadodara
Sorry to know about about your father. Usually most Chemotherapy causes vomiting and it lasts for some days which varies among people but that can be helped with medicines. Please consult the treating Oncologist for guidance.
1 person found this helpful

What is the average cost of brain surgery for cancer tumor removal, it is a metastasis of lung cancer. And post care also. I need this info for my father. We live in Mumbai, ok with Mumbai, Navi Mumbai.

Oncologist, Panchkula
Some details are needed a) Is the patient EGFR or ALK positive lung cancer b) Is he symptomatic for brain metastasis c) Share the full details of treatment till now d) Latest MRI Brain report.
2 people found this helpful

Table of Content

What is Lung Cancer?

The two major types of lung cancer based on the microscopic appearance are:

Here are the procedures done to obliterate lung cancer:

Play video
Treatment For Lung Cancer
Hi,

My name is Dr. Manish Kumar Singhal. Today, we will discuss treatments of lung cancer. Lung cancer, which was considered untreatable a decade ago, is now curable up to a large extent. The most important part of the treatment is to detect the cancer stage, for which we do the PET CT Scan. The treatment also depends on the subtypes of cancer. We are aware of ten different subtypes which are cured by different suitable drugs. To detect the subtypes, we need tissues for the biopsy, according to which we classify cancer into its subtypes. Under Stage 1, surgery is the preferred method of treatment. Stage 2 involves both surgery and chemotherapy, while the same is difficult to treat Stage 3.

Hence, Stage 3 is treated with the combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Stage 4 is treated with different types of chemotherapies, or targeted therapies or immunotherapies as per the detected subtype. The treatment has the success rate of 60%, 40%, 20% under Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3 respectively. However, Stage 4 is considered hard to cure but the survival rate has considerably increased by 25% in the last 5 years. Early detection is the key against lung cancer, but even in the case of detection in later stages, we are now able to achieve better survival rates for a longer period of time than before.
Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice