Everything You Need to Know About Lung Cancer; Prevention and Treatment.
What is Lung Cancer?
Lung cancer is an uncontrolled growth of cancer cells that begins in the cells that line the air passage of one or both lungs. Rather than developing into healthy lung tissue, abnormal cells rapidly divide to form tumors. As these tumors increase in size and number, they can sabotage the lung’s ability to diffuse oxygen into the bloodstream.
Apart from the primary lung cancer which originates in the lungs, there is also the secondary lung cancer which starts somewhere else in the body, but spreads to the lungs. This “spreading” process is known as metastasis. You should know that both are different types of cancer, as such, are treated differently. Based on reports from the World Health Organization, lung cancer is responsible for about 1.4 million of 7.6 million cancer deaths annually.
Lung cancer is usually caused by gene mutation of the lung cells. This mutation, which is caused by carcinogens, prevents the cell from correcting damages to the DNA and commit suicide.
The most common contributor to lung cancer is tobacco smoking. This is because cigarette smoke contains just about seventy-three known carcinogens. Research shows that tobacco smoking is responsible for nearly 85% of global lung cancer cases. Although cannabis smoke contains most of the carcinogens present in tobacco smoke, the effect of smoking weed on lung cancer is still a little unclear.
The place of genetics in risk of this cancer cannot be over-emphasized (accounts for about 8% of lung cancer, however air pollution is another strong contributing factor.
Fine particulates sulfate aerosols which are usually released in car exhaust fumes and other outdoor air pollutants account for roughly 1.5% of lung cancer cases. Other causes include, asbestos exposure, exposure to radon gas, ionizing radiation, some toxic gases, rubber production and crystalline silica dust.
The symptoms that you can use to identify lung cancer are divided into two. They are Respiratory symptoms and Systemic symptoms. The former includes, cough, coughing up blood, or blood-colored phlegm, recurrent respiratory infections (bronchitis or pneumonia), wheezing, shortness of breath.
The systemic symptoms can include tiredness, unexplained weight loss, fever, or clubbing of the fingernails. The cause of these symptoms can range from the direct effect of the primary tumor, the effect of metastases, to hormonal disturbances.
After the symptoms have been identified, lung cancer can be diagnosed using five investigative steps. A chest radiograph can be performed to see the exact cause of the symptom. However, CT imaging is necessary to provide additional information about the type and disease extent. Next, bronchoscopy, or in some cases, CT-guided biopsy will be used to sample the tumor for histology.
Since tobacco smoking accounts for majority of the cases of lung cancer, the obvious step would be to find a way of smoking cessation through some form of policy intervention. Regular screening is also a good idea.
Lung cancer can be managed through surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy. The preferred treatment depends primarily