Lung cancer occurs when the cell of the lung grows abnormally. The abnormal growth of cells results due to the inability to control normal growth of cells and cell division. Non-small Cell Lung Cancer and Small Cell Lung cancer are the leading lung cancer types. Non-small Cell Lung Cancer is the most common. Lung cancer was first discovered in 1761. It was extremely rare but in 1990s during the First World War incidences of Lung Cancer rose. This was because of the increase of cigarette smoking. The associate of Lung cancer with smoking was discovered by German physician Fritz Lickint in 1929 (, Lung Cancer Diagnosis – Mayo Clinic, Para 2).
Causes of Lung cancer
Cigarette smoking is the main cause of Lung Cancer. Those who smoke for many years and take large quantities of cigarettes are likely to be affected more. Other causes of lung cancer include some Illnesses such as silicosis, TB, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (C.O.P.D) and asbestosis which exposes individuals to it. The occurrence of natural radon gas (helium) is another cause of lung cancer, inhaling cigarette as a second-hand or passive smoke also can lead to cancer. Age is also another factor because most people with lung cancer are in their late 60s. Those who quit smoking can decrease chances of getting lung cancer. Other notably causes of lung cancer are pollution of air by factories and motor vehicles. Continuous exposure is a risk of emergent lung cancer.
Transmission of Lung Cancer
Unlike other diseases, lung cancer is not contagious. Therefore, it is not prone to easy transmission from one individual to another. This means that one cannot get lung cancer by being in contact with infected people. However, lung cancer may be caused through exposure to its causative agents which include cigarettes either as an active or passive smoker, cell mutation and radon gas (Lung Cancer Diagnosis – Mayo Clinic, para 4).
Signs and symptoms
They include coughing of blood which occurs for a number of people with lung cancer, shortness of breath that results due to the blockage of the flow of air to the lung, pain in the shoulder, back or chest that is persistent, aching and dull. Also, it results to unexplained loss weight.
Continuous respiratory infections where prominent cases are pneumonia and bronchitis are also symptoms lung cancer. In addition, coughing, clubbing of fingernails, difficult swallowing and fatigue is also featured. Moreover, it also incorporates swelling of the face and neck, Loss of appetite, harsh sounds with each breath, change of sputum color, headaches, bone or joint pain, memory loss, bleeding and finally blood clot are other symptoms lung cancer.
Diagnosis of lung cancer
Once lung cancer is suspected, a pathologist must review biopsy (lung tissue sample) under the microscope to determine cancer cells. Biopsy samples can be gathered using various procedures including:
- Mediastinoscopy. Before this procedure begins, the patient must be diagnosed with anesthesia. The operation includes inserting a tube into a small cut made at the neck. A biopsy is taken from the lymph nodes. Once lab tests have been conducted, the tumor stage is defined to determine the available options such as surgery (Lungcancer.org, para 3)
- Thoracentesis. Done when there are enough fluids in the chest cavity. A sample of the fluid is taken by a needle and then it is examined for cancer cells.
- Bronchoscopy. Through the mouth or nose, a tube is connected to enable the view of the lungs and remove lung tissue that might be examined
- Video-assisted thoracoscopy (VATS). Biopsies are of paramount importance in this case. Therefore, for the purposes of examination, the doctor introduces a thin cylinder on which a small video machine is attached into the affected lung. This procedure enables the doctor to perform biopsies.
- Blood test. This is the test carried out to identify the quantity of red-blood cells, platelets and white blood cells in the blood (Lungcancer.org, para 4)
- Fine-needle aspiration. This is done by computed tomography. A pathologists carries out this procedure so that he/she can be abls to evaluate the patient at the lymph node hence if it is infected, the infected cells are removed.
- Pulmonary tests. They are procedures carried out to determine the capacity of respiration in the lungs. hence, the procedure enhances the identification of the patients’ capability to tolerate any radiation treatment.
Prognosis of lung cancer
This is the probability to cure lung cancer. It depends on factors such as symptoms, type of lung, the patient status, cancer, and finally the location of the cancer. If untreated SCLC has an average survival time up to four months. It is only a small percent of patients who survive beyond five years once SCLC has been diagnosed. It spreads rapidly. Thus, some methods like localized radiation are not effective.
On the other hand, NSCLC is a crucial prognostic tool in tumor stage. The percentage of surviving beyond five years is unusually high. Radiation therapy can cure NSCLC but in extreme cases chemotherapy is used (Lung Cancer Diagnosis – Mayo Clinic, para 5).
“Lung Cancer Diagnosis – Mayo Clinic.” Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. 2013. Web.
“Lungcancer.org.” Lungcancer.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 2013.
Radon, Raymond W.. Cancer biology. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. Print.