Lung Cancer

About Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is a type of cancer that begins within the lungs. Your lungs take in oxygen when you inhale and release carbon dioxide when you exhale. The leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide killing both men and women is lung cancer; it has even surpassed breast cancer to become the leading cause of cancer deaths in women.

Screening for individuals at high risk has the potential to dramatically improve lung cancer survival rates by finding the disease at an earlier stage when it is more likely to be curable. Early detection can decrease lung cancer mortality by almost 20% among high-risk communities.

Although lung cancer can also occur in people who have never smoked, people who do smoke have the greatest risk of getting lung cancer. The risk of lung cancer increases with the length of time and the number of cigarettes you’ve smoked. You can significantly reduce your chances of developing lung cancer If you quit smoking, even after smoking for many years.

There are different types and subtypes of lung cancer. Knowing this and whether or not the tumour has any biomarkers can help determine your treatment options.


Causes of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer happens when cells in the lung mutate or change. Various factors can cause this mutation (a permanent change in the DNA sequence of a gene) to happen and anyone can get it. Most often, this change in lung cells happens when people breathe in dangerous, toxic substances like asbestos, tobacco smoke and radon. Even if you were exposed to these
substances many years ago, you are still at risk for lung cancer. Talk to your doctor if you have been exposed to any of the substances listed below and take steps to reduce your risk and protect your lungs.


These are some of the most relevant factors that raise your risk of getting lung cancer:


● Smoking is the most important risk factor for lung cancer. Tobacco smoking causes almost 10 different cases of lung cancer in men and about 8 of the 10 cases of lung cancer in women. The earlier in life you start smoking, the longer you smoke, and the higher the number of cigarettes you smoke a day, the greater your risk of lung cancer. The risk is also greater if you smoke a lot and drink alcohol every day or take beta carotene supplements. If you have quit smoking, your risk will be lower but you will still have a higher risk than people who never smoked
● Secondhand smoke, which is the combination of smoke that comes from a cigarette and smoke exhaled by a smoker. When you inhale it, you are exposed to the same cancer-causing agents as smokers, although in smaller amounts
● A family history of lung cancer
● Being exposed to asbestos, arsenic, chromium, beryllium, nickel, soot, or tar in the workplace
● Being exposed to radiation, such as from radiation therapy to the breast or chest
● Radon exposure; a radioactive gas that has no smell, colour or taste. Radon is produced from the natural radioactive decay of uranium, which can be found in the home or workplace
● Certain imaging tests such as CT scans
● HIV infection
● Air pollution


Symptoms of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer typically doesn’t cause any symptoms in its earliest stages. However, lung cancer symptoms typically occur when the disease is advanced.

Symptoms of lung cancer may include:

● A new cough that doesn’t go away
● Coughing up blood, even a small amount
● Shortness of breath
● Chest pain
● Hoarseness
● Losing weight without trying
● Bone pain
● Headache



Prevention and Screening


You can help lower your risk of lung cancer in the following ways:

Don’t smoke.
Smoking tobacco causes about 80% to 90% of lung cancer deaths in the world. The most important thing you can do to prevent lung cancer is to not start smoking or to quit if you do smoke.


Avoid secondhand smoke.
Smoke from other people’s cigarettes, cigars, or pipes is called secondhand smoke. Make your home, car and environment smoke-free.

Get tested for radon and other harmful chemicals.
You can do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you. A radon test kit is available from a hardware store.

Be careful at work.
Health and safety guidelines in the workplace can help workers avoid carcinogens (things that can cause cancer).




Your medical care provider may use many of these tools to make a diagnosis:

● A medical history, which includes asking about your symptoms
● A family history
● A physical exam
● Imaging tests, such as a chest x-ray or chest CT scan
● Lab tests, including tests of your blood and sputum
● A biopsy of the lung


If you do have lung cancer, a medical doctor will do other tests to find out how far it has spread through the lungs, lymph nodes, and the rest of the body. This is called staging. Knowing the type and stage of lung cancer you have helps your doctor decide what kind of treatment you will need.

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