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Lung Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The lung cancer is the most common type of cancer worldwide, the most deadly for men with colorectal , and also for women with breast cancer. This condition has been increased in recent decades especially by habits such as smoking , which greatly increases the possibility of suffering from this condition as well as other cancers in the mouth and respiratory system. In this FastlyHealarticle we explain in detail various important aspects of this condition, know the causes, symptoms, treatment and prognosis of lung cancer .

Risk factors for lung cancer

Lung cancer is the type of cancer with the highest incidence in the world, this is largely due to the various risk factors that increase the possibility of suffering from this disease, among which smoking is the main one . The more cigarettes you consume each day, the higher the risk that malignant cells will be generated in the lungs, possibilities that increase the longer you have been smoking.

But tobacco is not the only risk factor for the appearance of this condition, which is more likely in:

  • Passive smokers : the same carcinogens that are inhaled by the smoker are received by passive smokers who are in their environment. Being exposed to this type of smoke puts you at great risk of suffering from this type of cancer.
  • Exposure to radon : this radioactive natural gas that comes from rocks and soil, it can be present in the soil in which houses and buildings are built or in their environment. Due to its lack of odor, it cannot be detected, so people are exposed to it for years, significantly increasing the risk of lung cancer.
  • Exposure to other harmful substances : being exposed in the workplace to other carcinogenic substances such as asbestos or asbestos, arsenic, uranium, harmful minerals or certain petroleum derivatives significantly increases the risk of suffering from this condition.
  • Smoking marijuana : marijuana cigarettes also contain tar, which increases if the plant leaves are also mixed with tobacco.
  • Genetic predisposition : the risk of suffering from this disease increases in people who have direct relatives who have suffered from it or in those who have already had this condition in the past.
  • Exposure to a highly polluted environment : This may slightly increase the risk of suffering from this disease depending on the pollutant. People who smoke and live in polluted environments are at even higher risk.

Types of lung cancer

There are two main types of lung cancer that will depend on the cells from which they are derived, these are:

Small cell carcinomas

Around 20% of lung cancers are of this type, the malignant cell growth is rapid and aggressive, being located especially in the center of the lungs.

Non-small cell carcinomas

It is the most common lung cancer, it is divided into 3 types:

  • Squamous or epidermoid carcinoma: it is one of the most frequent types, with a moderately slow growth, it usually develops in the central part of the lung with an evolution similar to that of an abscess.
  • Adenocarcinoma: although it appears in smokers, it is also usually more frequent in those who do not smoke, being more common in women than in men. It appears in external areas of the lung.
  • Giant cell carcinoma: This is the least common type of this group consisting of large cells. It is a fast-growing type of cancer that can appear in any area of ​​the lung.

Symptoms of lung cancer

A significant number of lung cancers do not present symptoms until the tumor grows sufficiently and begins to affect other organs and show signs that lead the patient to a medical check-up, this is precisely where its danger lies. In other cases, the pathology is usually detected by a chest X-ray that is performed for other reasons, which may allow early action.

In certain cases, lung cancer can be detected early if you go to the doctor at the first symptoms, especially if we have one or more risk factors. The warning signs are:

  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Dry or phlegmy cough that does not go away or that gets worse.
  • Coughing up blood or rusty saliva.
  • Chest pain.
  • Wheezing when breathing
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss.

When the condition begins to affect other organs, symptoms such as:

  • Bone pain in areas such as the back or hips.
  • Yellow discoloration of the skin or eyes if the cancer affects the liver.
  • Numbness of the limbs, dizziness, seizures, or headaches if the tumor affects the brain.
  • Lumps on the neck if it affects the lymph nodes.

If you present one or more of the symptoms of this condition and you are an active or passive smoker or are part of the group at risk of suffering from this condition, it is best to see a doctor for a check-up.

Tests to diagnose lung cancer

In most cases, and especially in the absence of symptoms, lung cancer is already detected at an advanced stage in which other organs are usually involved. A chest X-ray will help detect the presence of unusual spots, and a lung biopsy will help to finally confirm the presence of cancer cells. Once confirmed, various tests will be done to measure whether the cancer has spread to other organs, including:

  • Blood test.
  • Various radiographs in different areas.
  • Computed tomography.
  • Magnetic resonance.
  • Bone marrow biopsy.
  • Bronconoscopy to determine if there are cancer cells in the bronchi.
  • Different examinations according to the case of each patient.

Lung cancer treatment

The treatment of lung cancer must be adapted to the case of each patient depending basically on the type of tumor, its extension and if it has metastasized to other organs.

Commonly used options are:

  • Surgery : it is intended to remove the tumor that is causing the disease. It is used in early-stage cancers that have not yet spread to other organs.
  • Radiation therapy : Graduated doses of radiation are used to kill cancer cells and shrink the tumor. It applies only to cancers that are not spread.
  • Chemotherapy : The treatment used to kill cancer cells that are spread throughout the body.

Additionally, immunotherapy can be applied to strengthen the patient’s immune system during treatment and help him fight cancer as well.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Lung cancer: causes, symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Lung and respiratory tract category .

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