What is lung cancer ? - Risk Factors & Early signs of Lung cancer

Lung Cancer

What is lung cancer ?

Lungs are made up of two spongy organs that sit in the middle of your chest–the right lung, and the left lung. Each lung has sections called lobes, with different structures. The right lung is divided into three lobes, and your left lung has two lobes. Even though the right lung is larger than the left, your heart takes up a lot of room on the left side of your body, so your left lung is smaller to make room for it. 

Lobes are made of tubes, called bronchi. Glands in the lungs make a clear liquid, called secretions, which keep the passages between air sacs free of germs, dust and other particles. This liquid drains into the windpipe (trachea) and is breathed out of the body along with carbon dioxide when we exhale. Lung cancer starts in any part of the lungs or in the lymph nodes near the lungs.

What is Lung Cancer - Symptoms and Early Signs of Lung Cancer

Along with transferring oxygen and carbon dioxide, the lungs help defend the body from infection. Tiny white blood cells that fight infection are pumped around your body by the heart through tiny vessels called capillaries. The lung tissue surrounding each capillary is part of a larger structure known as a lobe.

Lung cancer begins in lung tissue when a healthy cell is changed in a way that makes it grow uncontrollably. As these cancer cells multiply, they form tumours, which can get bigger and spread to other parts of the body.

In fact, lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer death in both men and women, no matter their race or ethnic background.

What are the risk factors of Lung Cancer?

  • Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, but it is also possible to develop lung cancer from exposure to other carcinogens such as radon gas or asbestos.
  • Even if you don’t smoke yourself, exposure to secondhand smoke can increase your risk of developing lung cancer;
  • Air pollution;
  • Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas, is the following most frequent cause of lung cancer and the major cause among persons who does not smoke. Radon is a uncoloured and unscented gas which can seep into houses and workplace;
  • Tobacco smoking is a very common cause of lung cancer; however, it can take many years for the cancer to develop. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 4 smokers will be diagnosed with lung cancer during their lifetime;
  • Previously had radiation therapy to your chest for another condition;
  • Has received large doses of X-rays as part of medical treatment;
  • Increase of risk of having lung cancer if your parent, sibling or child has diagnosed with lung cancer.
lung cancer risk factors | Sign Of Cancer

Early signs of Lung cancer

Lung cancer is now and then originating by smoking. The probability of emerging any type of lung cancer increases as the quantity of cigarettes smoked and duration you have been an addict to that. Other factors that influence your risk include exposure to secondhand smoke, radon gas, asbestos, other toxins, and family history.

Research has found that first-time smoking experiences are also linked to an increased risk for developing lung cancer, so it is best not to experiment with tobacco at all.

The most common symptom may be a new cough or a change in an existing cough. In addition to a persistent cough, other possible symptoms of lung cancer include chest pain, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Not every patient experiences these symptoms.

Breathing difficulties may be the result of damage to the lungs as a result of smoking or other lung diseases. Sometimes, it may be difficult to tell if breathing troubles are the result of lung cancer or another condition.

The early signs of lung cancer include:

A persistent cough which does not clear out, or a cough accompanied by Heam. More men than women report this sign.

  • Out of Breath, even at rest.
  • Chest pain or other symptoms that suggest heart disease
  • Hiccups that last for more than three weeks.
  • Strange and speedy weight loss
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Unexplained fever or night sweats

What are the differences in lung cancer?

Mainly there are two different variety of lung cancer and they are diagnosed individually:

  1. Non-small cell lung cancer and
  2. Small cell lung cancer.

The features of both types of lung cancer vary greatly, but they share some similarities as well. Both types of lung cancer tend to be more common in men than women, and both can result from exposure to cigarette smoke.

Let us understand about the first one first that is Non-small lung cancer (NSCLC):

The most occurrence of lung cancers occurs in the cells that line the air movement in the lungs (called bronchi). This kind of cancer is formally called non-small cell lung cancer. It makes up about 80% to 85% of all lung cancers, which start in the squamous cells that line the air passages or in the cells that produce mucus.

NSCLC be inclined to respond better to chemotherapy and has a better prognosis. Therefore, most patients with newly diagnosed lung cancer have NSCLC.
There are four main kinds of NSCLC:

  1. Adenocarcinoma,
  2. Squamous cell carcinoma,
  3. Large-cell carcinoma and
  4. Large-cell neuroendocrine carcinoma.
  • Adenocarcinoma type is made up of both gland-like tissue (adenoid cells) and flat cells that line air passages (squamous cells). It’s often found near large airways (bronchi). It is inclined to grow slowly. This kind of lung cancer approximates for about 25% of all cases of NSCLC. It typically occurs in ex-smokers who are over 40 years old, but it can also appear in younger people who have never smoked. These tumours start in cells called adenocarcinomas that naturally discharge component like mucus. Adenocarcinomas tend to grow and expand quickly, which can make them more difficult to diagnose.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma, which starts in flat cells lining the airways (called squamous cells). They mostly linked to smoking and prone to be occurred in the main part of the lungs, near a main bronchus.

  • Large cell (undifferentiated) carcinoma can found in any part of the lung. They tend to enlarge and expand quickly, which can make them harder to diagnosed.

  • Large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma it is a subtype of above and is grows very fast that is something like small cell lung cancer.

Secondly, let’s understand about Small cell lung cancer (SCLC):

It is mostly found in people who smoked or which have exposure to asbestos. Approximate for about one tenth of all lung cancers. SCLC is more often known as oat cell cancer due to the small, single cells it produces. This kind of lung cancer prone to grow and spread faster than NSCLC. 

More than fifty percent of people with SCLC might have cancer that has so far expanded at the time they are diagnosed. Since this cancer expands speedily, but it can be more aggressive and harder to treat, it be inclined to respond well to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Regrettably, for most people, cancer will return at some point in the future even after diagnosis.

How long have you been at risk for having lung cancer?

The survival rate for people with this type of lung cancer is lower than for people with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Although treatment can help many people with SCLC, the cancer usually recurs and is fatal.

Median survival for people with SCLC is about 8 to 11 months from diagnosis. For those who have limited-stage SCLC, the median survival is about 18 months from diagnosis.

For those who receive chemotherapy before radiation therapy, the median survival for limited- stage disease ranges from 26 to 32 months. For those whose disease has already spread by the time they are diagnosed, the median survival ranges from 7 to 10 months.

Other types of lung cancer include Carcinoid tumours of the lung are rare neuroendocrine tumours that contain neuroendocrine and epithelial components. Carcinoids are generally slow-growing, but have a high propensity for metastasizing, particularly to the liver.

The main symptom of lung carcinoid tumours is shortness of breath, which can be caused by either the tumour itself or by a compression effect from the tumour on surrounding structures. Other symptoms include coughing, wheezing, fatigue and chest pain.

Scare and develop in the mediastinum is a tumour known as Mediastinal tumours. Mediastinum separates the lungs in the centre of the chest. Mediastinal tumours are usually benign — non-cancerous — adenomas.

What are the treatment options?

Treatment for these cancers depends on factors such as their size, how far they have spread, and whether they are blocking any major airways or other structures in the lungs (this can cause symptoms such as coughing up blood or shortness of breath).

A diagnosis of lung cancer can be difficult because the symptoms are similar to other respiratory conditions, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and emphysema.

The first step would be a physical exam toward diagnosing a patient with lung cancer. A doctor will listen to you and examine the lungs and perform a physical exam looking for any abnormalities.

Screening with chest X-rays, sputum cytology or low-dose CT scans does not find all lung cancers. Lung cancer often does not cause symptoms until the disease is advanced. Screening for lung cancer may find tumours.

Higher-risk individuals may want to consider genetic testing or CT screening, while people with a lower risk of developing lung cancer may be able to wait up to 10 years before considering screening.

Treatment choices depend on:

Your overall health – if you are frail or have other medical issues that could complicate treatment, it may be best to delay treatment as long as possible.

Your preference – some patients want more aggressive treatment no matter how long it will extend their life.

The stage of your SCLC – a smaller tumour might be uncomplicated to cure than a larger tumour.

Treatment for non-small cell cancer usually involves surgery to remove any tumours, followed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy. For a surgery, a candidate must be healthy enough to handle the procedure as the cancer has expanded widely. If they are not healthy surgery is not suggested for them.


Small cell cancers are more aggressive than non-small cell cancers and tend to spread quickly. Surgery is not generally an option because the tumour is often very close to other organs, but radiation and chemotherapy can be used to treat this type of cancer.

How to prevent having lung cancer in the future?
Lung Cancer Treatment in men & women

Don’t be embarrassed, should you be worried? Thoroughly evaluate the treatment options before deciding which is best for you and follow your doctor’s advice on how to proceed.

When it comes to lung cancer and lung health, the choices you make today will likely have an impact down the road. It’s never too late to reduce your risks for problems like low oxygen levels and sleep apnea through healthy lifestyle changes.

There are ways to prevent these reactions or reduce the severity of symptoms. For instance, regular exercise during treatment might help boost your energy levels and ease other symptoms.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause. Quitting is only option and to encourage making an extra room for smokers to smoke alone and not influencing secondhand smoke in workplace and restaurants or public places.

Encourage health and safety guidelines at workplace. Get your home tested for radon.

Try to use natural equipment and at individual level try to reduce air pollution around your environment.

Eat natural vegetables, fruits, whole grains, greens, and nuts.

Making changes in your daily life may help reduce your risk of developing this disease like, avoid tobacco use, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes and chewing tobacco.

Keep posted yourself so that you can take a well-informed decision. Good news…cancer is curable when it’s detected early. Let’s beat this together.- Sign Of Cancer.

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