Know About Lung Cancer

1. What is Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is a very common cause of death in fast world. The abnormal cell growth in either or both lungs that line the air passages which ultimately leads to lung cancer. Primary lung cancer originates in the lungs, while secondary lung cancer starts somewhere else in the body, metastasizes, and reaches the lungs.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report, 7.6 million deaths globally each year are caused by cancer; which represents 13% of all global deaths. As seen below, lung cancer is by far the number one cancer killer.

Total deaths worldwide caused by cancer each year

  • Lung cancer – 1,370,000 deaths
  • Stomach cancer – 736,000 deaths
  • Liver cancer – 695,000 deaths
  • Colorectal cancer – 608,000 deaths
  • Breast cancer – 458,000 deaths
  • Cervical cancer – 275,000 deaths

 2. What are the different types of lung cancer?

There are 2 main types of lung cancer:

  • About 80% to 85% of lung cancers are Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) &
  • About 10% to 15% are Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)

Non-small cell lung cancer is most prevalent type of lung cancer. It usually grows and spreads more slowly compared to small cell lung cancer.

3. What is NSCLC?

The most common type of lung cancer is Non Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) and accounts for 85% to 90% of all lung cancer cases.

4. What causes NSCLC?

Smoking causes most cases (around 90%) of lung cancer. Research shows that smoking marijuana may help cancer cells grow. But there is no direct link between smoking marijuana and developing lung cancer.

Constant exposure to high levels of air pollution and drinking water that has a high level of arsenic can increase your risk of lung cancer. A history of radiation therapy to the lungs can also increase risk.

Working with or near cancer-causing chemicals or materials can also increase the risk of developing lung cancer.

5. What are the Signs & Symptoms?

Symptoms may include:

  • Chest pain
  • Cough that does not go away
  • Coughing up blood
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing

Early lung cancer may not cause any symptom. These symptoms can be due to other, less serious conditions. It is important to talk to your health care provider if you have symptoms.

6. What are the tests to be done to diagnose NSCLC?

Tests and procedures to detect, diagnose, and stage non-small cell lung cancer are often done at the same time. Some of the following tests and procedures may be used:

Physical exam and history : An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patient’s health habits, including smoking, and past jobs, illnesses, and treatments will also be taken.

Laboratory tests : Medical procedures that test samples of tissue, blood, urine, or other substances in the body. These tests help to diagnose disease, plan and check treatment, or monitor the disease over time. Chest x-ray, CT scan (CAT scan), Sputum cytology , Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy of the lung, Bronchoscopy, Thoracoscopy, Thoracentesis, Light and electron microscopy and Immunohistochemistry tests may help in diagnosis and staging of the lung cancer.

7. What are the different stages of Lung cancer?

Usually symptoms of lung cancer do not appear until the disease is already at an advanced stage. Even when lung cancer does cause symptoms, many people may mistake them for other problems, such as an infection or long-term effects from smoking. This may delay the diagnosis. Some lung cancers are found early by accident as a result of tests for other medical conditions.

8. Can anyone detect Non-small cell lung cancer early?

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9. What is the usual Treatment of NSCLC?

For NSCLC today, the general treatment options may include: surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and biomarker-driven therapy. These are often used in various combinations, depending on what is best suited to the person’s cancer.

10. What should I do after getting the Treatment?

For some people, treatment may remove or destroy the lung cancer. The end of treatment can be both stressful and exciting. You’ll be relieved to finish treatment, yet it’s hard not to worry about cancer coming back. This is very common if you’ve had cancer.

For other people, the lung cancer may never go away completely. Some people may get regular treatments with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or other therapies to try to keep the cancer in check for as long as possible. Learning to live with cancer that does not go away can be difficult and very stressful.

Living with cancer is different from living after cancer. Life after lung cancer means returning to some familiar things and also making some new choices.

11. Can I lower the risk of my cancer progressing or coming back?

Staying as healthy as possible is more important than ever after lung cancer treatment. Quitting smoking and eating right may help you lower your risk of your lung cancer coming back, and may help protect you from other health problems.

12. What should I do If the cancer comes back?

If cancer does recur at some point, your treatment options will depend on where the cancer is, what treatments you’ve had before, and your health. Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, or some combination of these might be options. Other types of treatment might also be used to help relieve any symptoms from the cancer.

13. Could I get a second cancer after lung cancer treatment?

People who’ve had lung cancer can still get other cancers, although most don’t get cancer again. Lung cancer survivors are at higher risk for getting another lung cancer, as well as some other types of cancer. Learn more in Second cancers after non-small cell lung cancer.

14. Is there any impact of Vaccine in getting rid of lung cancer?

Several types of vaccines for boosting the body’s immune response against lung cancer cells are being tested in clinical trials. Unlike vaccines against infections like measles or mumps, these vaccines are designed to help treat, not prevent, lung cancer. These types of treatments seem to have very limited side effects, so they might be useful in people who can’t tolerate other treatments.