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What is Lung Cancer and What are its Effects?

01.11.2019 Posted By : PathKind Labs Team Share :
What is Lung Cancer and What are its Effects?


The lungs are a unit combination of sponge-like cone shape organs within the chest. These are part of our respiratory system. Lung cancer originates from the tissues of the respiratory organ, typically from cells lining the air passages. It’s the second most common cancer in men and the fifth most common cancer in both men and women together.

Lung Cancer can spread to distant parts of the body through the blood and lymphatic vessels. This is called metastasis. Nearly 40% of those folks that are new diagnosed with carcinoma have already got metastasis to different elements of the body e.g. bone, brain, lymph nodes liver, adrenal gland, etc. Lung cancer claims a lot of lives annually than colon, prostate, sex gland and breast cancers combined.

What is Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer starts within the cells of the lung. A cancerous tumor is a set of cancer cells that can grow internally and destroy nearby tissues. It can also spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. When cancer starts within the lung cells, it is called as primary lung cancer.

Due to the exposure of lung cancer cells to harmful substances, the cells turn malignant in nature, form a tumor and hamper the day-to-day activities of the organ. Cells within the respiratory organ typically modify and not grow or behave commonly. These changes may lead to non-cancerous i.e. benign tumors like hamartoma and papilloma. Perhaps in some cases, changes to lung cells can probably cause cancer.

Types of Lung Cancer

Non–small cell lung cancer typically starts in glandular cells on the outer part of the respiratory organ. This type of cancer is called adenocarcinoma. NSCLC can also start in flat, thin cells called squamous cells. These cells line the bronchi, which are the massive airways that branch far from the cartilaginous tube (trachea) into the lungs.

Around 80% to 85% of lung cancers are NSCLC. The chief subtypes of NSCLC are Squamous cell carcinoma, Adenocarcinoma, and Large cell carcinoma.

Small cell lung cancer typically starts in cells that line the bronchi in the center of the lungs. The main types of small cell lung cancer are small cell carcinoma and combined small cell carcinoma (mixed tumors with squamous or glandular cells).

About 10% to 15% of all respiratory organ cancers are SCLC and it can be called oat cell cancer. This type of carcinoma tends to grow and unfold quicker than NSCLC. About 70% of individuals with SCLC can have cancer that has already unfolded at the time they're diagnosed.

Symptoms of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer generally does not cause signs and symptoms in its earliest stages. Signs and symptoms of lung cancer mostly occur only when the disease is advanced. Most of the symptoms are more likely to be caused by something aside from lung cancer, yet if an individual has any of these problems, it’s important to see the doctor.

Most common symptoms of lung cancer are:

  • Hoarseness
  • Headaches lasting longer
  • Loss of appetite
  • A cough that does not escape or gets worse.
  • Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum/spit.
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Chest pain that’s worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing.
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that stay or keep coming back.
  • New onset of wheezing.

Causes of Lung Cancer

  • Smoking tobacco
  • Second-hand smoke
  • Exposure to asbestos
  • Exposure to occupational substances (uranium, chromium, diesel fumes, nickel, soot)
  • Exposure to radon
  • HIV infection
  • Family history
  • Personal History

Diagnosis of lung cancer

  • Chest X-ray: An X-ray can show bigger tumors (more than 1cm wide).
  • CT scan: A computerized tomography (CT) scan uses X-ray beams to take pictures of your body internally and create a cross-sectional image. A CT scan is capable of detecting smaller tumors also providing information about the tumor and lymph nodes.
  • PET scan: A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is used to stage lung cancer after running a diagnosis.
  • Lung function test: There may be a lung function test known as spirometry which checks how well your lungs are operating.
  • Biopsy: A little sample of tissue will be taken if a tumor is suspected once the CT scan or X-ray is done. There are various types of biopsy including a bronchoscopy, CT-guided core biopsy and endobronchial ultrasound.
  • Sputum cytology: The mucous secretion (sputum) from your lungs are examined below a magnifier to check the presence of abnormal cells.

Various treatments involving Lung Cancer are Chemotherapy, Radiation Therapy, Targeted Therapy, Immunotherapy, Surgery, Thermal Therapy, etc.

Make an appointment with the doctor if you have any persistent signs or symptoms that have been worrying you. In case of any doubts, you can book a blood test, find a lab, download reports and find out health packages.

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