Lung Cancer

Alysa Boatman

What is Cancer?

Cancer is the disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both lungs. These abnormal cells do not carry out the functions of normal lung cells and do not develop into healthy lung tissue. As they grow, the abnormal cells can form tumors and interfere with the functioning of the lung, which provides oxygen to the body via the blood.

Causes of lung cancer

The incidence of lung cancer is strongly correlated with cigarette smoking, with about 90% of lung cancers arising as a result of tobacco use. Passive smoking, Asbestos fibers, Radon gas, Familial predisposition, Lung disease, Prior history of lung cancer, and Air pollution are also some other things that can cause lung cancer.

Symptoms of lung cancer in the chest

  • Coughing, especially if it persists or becomes intense
  • Pain in the chest, shoulder, or back unrelated to pain from coughing
  • A change in color or volume of sputum
  • Shortness of breath
  • Changes in the voice or being hoarse
  • Harsh sounds with each breath (stridor)
  • Recurrent lung problems, such as bronchitis or pneumonia
  • Coughing up phlegm or mucus, especially if it is tinged with blood
  • Coughing up blood

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Non-small cell lung cancer accounts for about 85 percent of lung cancers. Among them are these types of tumors: Adenocarcinoma is the most common form of lung cancer in the United States among both men and women. Squamous cell carcinoma (which is also called epidermoid carcinoma) forms in the lining of the bronchial tubes. Large cell carcinomas refer to non-small cell lung cancers that are neither adenocarcinomas nor epidermoid cancers.

STAGES OF NON-SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER

Stage I: The cancer is located only in the lungs and has not spread to any lymph nodes.

Stage II: The cancer is in the lung and nearby lymph nodes.

Stage III: Cancer is found in the lung and in the lymph nodes in the middle of the chest, also described as locally advanced disease. Stage III has two subtypes:

  • If the cancer has spread only to lymph nodes on the same side of the chest where the cancer started, it is called stage IIIA.

  • If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes on the opposite side of the chest, or above the collar bone, it is called stage IIIB.

Stage IV: This is the most advanced stage of lung cancer, and is also described as advanced disease. This is when the cancer has spread to both lungs, to fluid in the area around the lungs, or to another part of the body, such as the liver or other organs.

Small Cell Lung Cancer

Small cell lung cancer accounts for the remaining 15 percent of lung cancers in the United States. Small cell lung cancer results from smoking even more so than non-small cell lung cancer, and grows more rapidly and spreads to other parts of the body earlier than non-small cell lung cancer. It is also more responsive to chemotherapy.

Treating Lung Cancer

There are five basic ways to treat lung cancer

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Immunotherapy

Survival rate

The five-year survival rate for lung cancer is 54 percent for cases detected when the disease is still localized (within the lungs). However, only 15 percent of lung cancer cases are diagnosed at an early stage. For distant tumors (spread to other organs) the five-year survival rate is only 4 percent.