What is lung cancer - incidence, signs, symptoms, causation, prognosis and treatment


Lung cancer is the most tragic cancer because in most cases, it could prevent 87% of cases are caused by smoking. Lung cancer has long been the most common cause cancers in men and since 1987 also become the most common cause of death cancer in women. It is the second most common cancer in most Western countries, although the cancer lung is less common in developing countries, the rapid rise in popularity of smoking see the number of patients in these countries rapidly catch up with the West.

Lung Diseases can occur in any part of the Lung, and 90-95% of cancers of the lung are thought to arise from the lining or epithelial cells of the larger and smaller airways (bronchi and bronchioles), for this reason, lung cancer sometimes called bronchogenic carcinomas or bronchogenic cancers.

The most common types are epidermoid carcinoma, small cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and large cell carcinoma.

Most experts agree that lung cancer due to inhalation of carcinogenic substances by a susceptible host. Who is most vulnerable? Each smoker over the age of 40, especially when they began smoking before the age of 15, have smoked 20 or more for 20 years, or worked with or near asbestos. Two other factors also increase susceptibility: exposure to carcinogenic industrial and air pollutants (asbestos, uranium, arsenic, nickel, iron oxides, chromium, radioactive dust and coal dust.) Sensitivity and family.


Because early lung cancer usually produces no symptoms, the disease often in an advanced stage when first diagnosed. Late stage signs: with epidermoid and small cell carcinoma, smokers cough, hoarseness, wheezing, dyspnea, hemoptysis and chest pain. With adenocarcinoma and large cell carcinoma, fever, weakness, weight loss, anorexia, and shoulder pain. Furthermore, hormone production, which regulates bodily functions are also affected.


Firm diagnosis requires chest x-rays, sputum cytology, CT scan, the examination of pleural fluid and biopsy bronchoscopy. Other tests for the detection of metastasis include bone scans, bone marrow biopsy and CT scans of the brains and the abdomen.


The disease usually spreads to the liver, adrenal glands, bones and brains. Cancer that has metastasized to the bone causes bone pain, usually in the spine (vertebrae), the thighbones and ribs. Cancer that spreads to the brains can cause problems with vision and weakness on one side of the body.

The cancer may grow into certain nerves in the neck, causing a droopy eyelid, small pupil sunken eyes and decreased sweating on one side of the face, together these symptoms are called Horner's syndrome (see autonomic nervous system disorders: Horner's syndrome). It can grow directly into the esophagus, or it can grow around it and put pressure on it, leading to difficulty swallowing. It can also spread through the bloodstream to the liver, brains, spinal cord, adrenal glands and bone.


Treatment depends on the specific cancer cell type, how far it has spread, and the patient's performance status. If investigations confirm lung cancer are CT scan and often positron emission tomography (PET) is used to determine if the disease is localized and amenable to surgery or whether it has spread to the point where it can not be cured surgically. Treatment is usually a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

Surgery is usually the first option. Chemotherapy can be used as a first line treatment or as additional treatment after surgery. Radiotherapy can be routed to your cancer from outside the body (external beam radiation) or it can be within the needles, seeds or catheters and placed in your body near the cancer (brachytherapy). Radiotherapy may be used alone or together with other lung cancer treatments. Radiotherapy can also be used to reduce side effects of lung cancer.

Treatment may not be as effective for patients with bone or liver metastases of lung cancer, excessive weight, current cigarette use, or pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease and emphysema. At some point, if you and your oncologist or primary care physician agree that treatment is no longer recommended, hospice care possible comfort.