Lung Cancer

The Leading Cancer in the United States

By Elizabeth Apple & Sydney Striebel

What is Lung Cancer?

Lung Cancer is a tumor forming condition where the cells in the lung tissue duplicate ferociously.

There are two types of this cancer, primary & secondary.

Primary- Cancer begins inside the lungs themselves

Secondary- The cancer begins outside the lungs in another area of the body

How prevalent is this cancer?

  • Lung Cancer has the highest death rate worldwide, it is hardly ever found in young people. Doctors and scientists have been working on ways to lower the amount of cancer deaths in the US.

  • 3% of all cases of LC were in people younger than 45 years old

  • Deaths from cancer decreased 1.6% per year as smoking became known as bad for you (1999-2006)

  • 1.61 million cases each year worldwide

  • 2013↠ 228,190 americans diagnosed, 159,480 died

Smoking and Lung Cancer (Video)

Lung Cancer | Did You Know?

What are the possible causes of Lung Cancer?

The most prevalent cause of Lung Cancer is smoking cigarettes, but other causes include being exposed to radon gas & asbestos, genetics, and diet & nutrition.

  • 87% of LC cases ending in death are from cigarettes

  • The cancer causing chemicals in tobacco are carcinogens
  • People in the mining industry and people who have tuberculosis and certain types of pneumonia are more prone to getting lung cancer.
  • Exact cause of lung cancer is unknown



  • A cough that does not go away
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent hoarseness
  • Swelling of the neck and face
  • Significant weight loss that cannot be explained by other factors
  • Fatigue and loss of appetite
  • Bloody or brown-colored sputum
  • Unexplained fever
  • Recurrent lung infections, such as bronchitis or pneumonia



  • Doctors view medical history and perform a physical examination
  • An important part of the medical history involves questions about smoking. A patient who smokes is at high risk for lung cancer.
  • Imaging techniques may also be used: A chest X ray may show the presence of unusual masses in the lungs. A computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test may provide further information about the size, shape, and location of any tumors.
  • The most conclusive test for lung cancer is a lung biopsy. A biopsy is a procedure in which a small sample of tissue is removed. The sample is then studied under a microscope. Cancer cells can be identified under a microscope because of their distinctive appearance.

What are the treatments/cures?

Doctors are using many different methods to attempt to kill the cancer cells.

  • Surgery: non-small cell cancer only

  • Radiotherapy: high energy waves

  • Chemotherapy: cancer killing medications by IV or orally

  • 49%+ patients will live for 5+ yrs after early diagnosis if treated correctly

  • only 15% of cases are discovered early enough for this to take place

(video - 1:16)

Popular Treatment for Lung Cancer- watch until 1:16

Today Tonight - Lung Cancer

What Happens with Lung Cancer at the Cellular Level?


  • Cellular: Pertaining to or characterized by cellules or cells, especially minute compartments or cavities.
  • Cancer Cell = Low ATP
  • Microbes can lower ATP energy, which is the very definition of a cancer cell.
  • Glucose can get inside of the cell from the bloodstream
  • Some of the glucose is converted into pyruvate
  • Pyruvate gets inside of the mitochondria
  • Once inside the mitochondria, pyruvate is at the beginning of two sequential chemical reactions. (It is these two cycles which create most of the ATP molecules in the cell.)
  • Cancer cells consume 15 times more glucose than a normal cell. Leading to a person who could logically expect a cancer cell to create 15 times more ATP molecules than a normal cell.

What Happens with Lung Cancer at the Molecular Level?


  • Molecular: Of or relating to molecules
  • Genetic mutations are responsible for the generation of cancer cells
  • These mutations alter the quantity or function of protein products that regulate cell growth and division and DNA repair
  • Two major categories of mutated genes are oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes
  • Onconogenes: Abnormal forms of a normal gene, mutation of these genes may cause direct and or continuous stimulation of the pathways
  • Tumor Suppressor Genes: Play a role in normal cell division and DNA repair, and are critical for detecting inappropriate growth signals or DNA damage in cells.