Lung cancer is the leading
cancer that is responsible for most cancer deaths in both men and women
around the world. Smoking is the number one cause to lung cancer and tobacco
is responsible for 90% of all lung cancer. However, lung cancer takes many
years to develop. Doctors refer to packs-years of history to determine the
risk of developing lung cancer by determining the amount of cigarette packs
per day times the number of smoking years. But the age when the smoking
started and how deeply the smoker inhales are also important factors in
determining the risk of developing lung cancer. Stopping smoking greatly
reduces the risk for lung cancer. Although you do not smoke, passive smoking
can also cause lung cancer and approximately 3000 people die each year in
the U.S. due to passive smoking.
Cancer in the lungs are divided into two major types. The first one is
non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and the other one is called small cell
lung cancer (SCLC). These two types of cancers spread and grow in different
ways, so it's important to distinguish between these two. NSCLC is the most
common lung cancer and is responsible for about 80% of all lung cancers.
SCLC is responsible for about 20% and grows very rapidly and are the most
aggressive of all lung cancers. Cigarette smoking is related to SCLC and 1%
of these tumors occurs in non-smokers. SCLC also spread (aka metastasize)
rapidly to other parts of the body and are often discovered after they have
Common symptoms for lung cancer are:
a) Coughing up blood
b) Dull ache or a sharp pain when you cough or take a deep breath
c) Increasing breathlessness
d) Continuing cough that does not get better over time
e) Chest infection that does not get better
f) Loss of weight and appetite.
Determining treatment for lung cancer depends on several factors such as
your general health, size, location, the extent of the tumor, but also the
type of lung cancer NSCLC or SCLC. There may be many different combinations
to treat the cancer.
1. Chemotherapy-This is the use of anticancer drugs to kill all the
cancerous cells throughout the body.
2. Radiation Therapy-This is the use of high energy rays to kill the cancer
cells, which are directed to a limited area.
3. Surgery-This is another way to remove the cancer. Some patients cannot
undergo a surgery for medical reasons and some tumors cannot be removed by
surgery because of location and size of it.
4. Photodynamic Therapy-This is a type of laser therapy, where a chemical is
injected into the bloodstream and is absorbed by the body cells. This
chemical stays in the cancer cells but leaves the normal cells. Thereafter a
laser light is aimed at the cancer cells which activates the chemical and
thus kills the cancer cells that absorbed the chemical.