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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

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!

3283 people found this helpful

Who Should Be Screened for Lung Cancer?

MBBS, MD - Pulmonary Medicine
Pulmonologist, Faridabad
Who Should Be Screened for Lung Cancer?

One of the major causes of death worldwide is lung cancer and it has been continuously affecting men and women accounting for about 150,000 deaths every year. Astonishingly, this figure is more than the combined death rate of the next three kinds of cancer, namely, colon, breast, and pancreatic cancer.

As with any type of cancer, lung cancer to has increased life expectancy when diagnosed in the earlier stages. Thus, being informed about the causes and signs of this deadly disease becomes critical to treat the condition.

The prevalent causes
The major risk factor for lung cancer is smoking and second-hand or passive smoking. The risks are increased when the smokers are exposed to other potential risk factors such as getting exposed radon and asbestos.

Who should be screened?

  • As said earlier, cancer when diagnosed early has an increased success rate for a cure.
  • Most people do not admit that they are vulnerable to lung cancer and this mindset has to be changed first and foremost.
  • There are many people who would benefit from an early diagnosis. This is because the modern medical procedures are highly beneficial in changing the lives of the affected, for better.
  • People, who are avid smokers or have a history of smoking, should always opt for lung cancer screening.
  • In this regard, it should be kept in mind that people, who have stopped smoking for the last 15 years, should also be tested.
  • People belonging to the age group of 55-80 and who have smoked in the past should also come under the screening procedure.

Who should not be tested and why?
Lung cancer is a ghastly disease, but still, it is advised that everyone should not be screened. These tests involve a lot of risks, which are indeed severe.

  • The first risk is the false-positive test result wherein the test confirms that the patient is suffering from the disease, but he is not.
  • The second risk is over-diagnosis where the cancer is at a benign stage, but there are unnecessary treatments considering it to be dangerous.

Lastly, there is the risk of exposure to radiation.

So, who is the right candidate?
Now the question arises, who should be asked to screen themselves for lung cancer? Or, when is the ideal time to for screening? Because of the risks associated with CT scanning and the chances of doing more harm than good to people who are not prone to having lung cancer, the doctors recommend screening to only those people who are at high risk. Unfortunately, the symptoms of this disease are almost nil in number. To be an ideal candidate for screening, the patient should be in good health and should have a smoking habit as mentioned above.

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

2539 people found this helpful

Radiotherapy - How It Can Help In Treating Lung Cancer?

MBBS, MS - General Surgery, FRCS
Oncologist, Kolkata
Radiotherapy - How It Can Help In Treating Lung Cancer?

Radiotherapy is a kind of treatment that kills the cancer cells by using high-energy beams. Specialists use radiotherapy to treat a wide range of lung cancer. For early stage lung cancer, the radiotherapy may get rid of the cancer totally.

For the small cell lung cancer you may have radiotherapy only. Then again you may have it with another treatment, for example, chemotherapy or surgery.

For small cell lung cancer, radiotherapy is used with or after chemotherapy. Chemotherapy makes the tumor in the lung shrink. You may have radiotherapy to your cerebrum, which tackles any cancer cells that may have spread to the brain. This is called prophylactic cranial illumination (PCI).

In case of advanced lung cancer, the treatment contracts the tumor and controls it for a while. It additionally decreases symptoms like shortness of breath.

The types of radiotherapy used for the lungs include:

Outer radiotherapy: This kind of radiotherapy comes from a machine and is administered to the body through an external source. It depends on the kind of cancer and the progression of the same.

You may have three radiotherapy sittings every day for around 12 days. This sort of radiotherapy is known as CHART – ceaseless hyperfractionated quickened radiotherapy. A few people with small cell lung cancer may have treatment twice a day.

If you are getting radiotherapy to control the side effects of lung cancer, you may have a single treatment or day by day medications for up to 3 weeks.

Inner radiotherapy: This is called brachytherapy or endobronchial treatment. This will be administered during a bronchoscopy. The radiation is given through a thin tube that the specialist puts inside your aviation route for a few of minutes.

Specialists use this sort of treatment to shrink a tumor that is blocking or pushing your breathing track and making breathing troublesome for you.

These are some of the procedures that take place while you are having lung cancer radiotherapy:

  1. Radiotherapy machines are enormous. The machines are fixed in one position or are sometimes ready to go around your body to give treatment from various angles.
  2. Prior to your first treatment, your radiographers will clarify what you will hear and see. The treatment rooms normally have docks for you to connect to music players. So you can listen to your own choice of music.
  3. You cannot feel radiotherapy when you really have the treatment. It takes anything from one second to a few minutes. It is essential to lie similarly situated every time, so the radiographers may take a short time to get you prepared.
  4. Once you are in the right position, the staff will allow you to sit in the space for a couple of minutes. They watch you constantly on a closed circuit TV screen. They may request that you hold your breath or take shallow breaths during the treatment.

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

2873 people found this helpful

How Pollution and Cancer Are Related?

M.Ch, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA, Baroda Medical College, Gujarat Cancer & Research Institute
Oncologist, Ahmedabad
How Pollution and Cancer Are Related?

Are you aware of the link between air pollution and cancer? Air pollution refers to the mixture of several harmful substances, which lead to various serious health hazards on exposure. The primary sources of air pollution are man-made, including fumes from automobiles and the smoke from burning fuels. Desert dust, radon gas, and several other natural sources of air pollution are equally dangerous. Air pollution is classified into outdoor and indoor air pollution. It is highly associated with increased risks of developing cancer. Smoking is considered to be one of the major agents, which pollute the air and increase the chances of cancer to a large extent.

Outdoor air pollution

  1. Outdoor air pollution is strongly linked with cancer development.
  2. As every person is exposed to some form of air pollution, it has a more harmful effect on the whole population across the globe as a general threat.
  3. A certain part of outdoor air pollution referred to as PM 2.5, or solid dust particles, are highly responsible for the development of cancer.
  4. The chances of cancer increase with the increase in PM 2.5 levels in the air.

Indoor air pollution

  1. There are several sources of indoor air pollution that are closely associated with an increased risk of cancer.
  2. The sources include fuels used for heating homes and for cooking, radon, and tobacco smoke.
  3. Second hand smoke is another harmful indoor air pollutant that causes cancer.

Second hand smoke

  1. Secondhand smoke increases the risk of cancer development, along with the risk of developing other diseases such as stroke and lung disease.
  2. A lot of people all over the world get exposed to second hand smoke.
  3. A lot of deaths occur due to cancer because of second hand smoke exposure which is common every year, all over the globe.

Radon

  1. Radon is a natural radioactive gas, which is associated with increased risks of developing lung cancer.
  2. It is found at low levels outdoors. It may also build in high concentrations indoors.
  3. Although radon exposure does not pose a huge threat for cancer, a lot of radon-associated cancers develop due to exposure to radon, along with tobacco smoke.

Benzene

  1. This is a flammable liquid having no color and with a sweet odor.
  2. It is closely associated with the development of leukemia and cancers affecting other cells of the body.
  3. Cigarette smoking and tobacco smoke are major cancer causing elements that are found in the air commonly. Both of these are quite harmful. It is recommended that you not only quit smoking, but also keep away from passive smoking.

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

1844 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

I had a high blood pressure of 180, and my doctor had found out that there has been a 3 inch tumor on my lungs and my kidney, and recently I had peed a super less blood, but my doctor said that it would not be dangerous but had to check up again whether the tumor is grown or not after 6 months time. Perhaps, I'm afraid it would be a cancer, but based on my research, the most common tumor which can be a cancer is most likely about 7 inch or lesser and the tumor in mine is 3 inch, can this be a signs of cancer? Please would you help! I'm super worry!

MBBS, M.S. General Surgery, M.R.C.S. England, M.Ch. Surgical Oncology, DNB Surgical Oncology, FEBS Surgical Oncology, DNB General Surgery, MNAMS, FMAS, FIAGES, FAIS, FICS, FEBS Breast Surgery, FACS, Fellowship IFHNOS & MSKCC USA, Fellowship in breast and oncplastic Surgery
Oncologist, Mumbai
Tumors can range from subcentimetre to 40 cms. The diagnosis and the stage determines the prognosis. Better to see a cancer surgeon who would guide you. If you want to share reports and discuss further, feel free to contact me directly.
2 people found this helpful

When to go for ct pulmonary angiography? My Echo ecg are normal? What does pulmonary angiography looks for? Can it detect. Lesion and cancer of lungs?

MBBS, AIIMS new delhi , RGUHS,bangalore
Oncologist, Bangalore
Angiography is special CT scan. So lung Lesions can be detected by changing reconstruction algorithm. Needs more information to help you.

Please suggest Which type of alternative therapy is available for advanced forth stage non small cell lung cancer and how can I achieve them?

MBBS, M.S. General Surgery, M.R.C.S. England, M.Ch. Surgical Oncology, DNB Surgical Oncology, FEBS Surgical Oncology, DNB General Surgery, MNAMS, FMAS, FIAGES, FAIS, FICS, FEBS Breast Surgery, FACS, Fellowship IFHNOS & MSKCC USA, Fellowship in breast and oncplastic Surgery
Oncologist, Mumbai
There are many who claim that they can cure cancer with Ayurvedic, unani, homeopathic aswell as Tibetan medicine. If the patient was started on geftinib as per the EGFR report, then I would advise you to continue the same as it has a good chance of response and may be long lasting in a few patients. Alternative medicines may contain steroids, which can suppress cancer for a few days (steroid are a part of chemotherapy in lymphoma) and also give sense of well-being. However if it does not have a long lasting effect and the cancer may come back with a vengeance. If you want to share the details and discuss this further, feel free to contact me directly.

Sir my uncle 52 years old suffering from lung disease report shows malignant pathology on upper lobe of left lung (soft tissue mass) and lymphadenopathy Sir please give me advice about this?

MD - Oncology
Oncologist, Coimbatore
Dear Lybrate user, All your reports need to be reviewed to suggest further plan. Usually the next step is biopsy of the lesion and imaging for staging.

Sir my father has lung cancer .but doctor bol rhe h ki last stage h unki to wo operate to krenge nhi sir plzz give me a right suggestion. Bhut pareshan hu sir me plzz hlp us please.

MD - Radiothrapy
Oncologist, Mumbai
Lung cancer is often diagnosed in advance stages where surgery is not possible. But there are other treatment options like Chemotherapy or targeted therapy. Your oncologist will decide between them depending upon the histopathology report and patients general condition. Don't worry trust your oncologist.
1 person found this helpful