Some people call the rainforest the lungs of the earth as they remove carbon dioxide and produce oxygen.
Human lungs work on the inverse functionality. They bring in the precious oxygen needed for human life. Lung cancer is one of the most dangerous forms of cancer. It’s responsible for the most cancer deaths across the world.
Lung cancer is dangerous as it’s one of the hardest forms of cancer to treat and affects one of the most crucial and delicate organs in the body. What’s truly tragic is that many of the cases of lung cancer could probably have been prevented by different life choices. There’s two types of lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer is less common. Non-small cell lung cancer is actually a reference to multiple different types of lung cancer like large cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and others. Lung cancer treatment needs to begin as early as possible to give sufferers the best chance at recovery.
Causes and Risk Factors of Lung Cancer
Unlike some forms of cancer, the main cause of lung cancer is fairly well known. It’s smoking. People who smoke inhale a variety of substances that cause lung cancer. The body will spend it’s time trying to repair the damage being done to the lungs but it’s likely it can’t keep up. People who are exposed to secondhand smoke also need to be worried about potential lung cancer. Avoiding it in the first place is important.
There are other risk factors for lung cancer as well. People who are exposed to asbestos, chromium, nickel, or radon gas may find their risk of lung cancer higher. People who have had another form of cancer may undergo radiation therapy in the chest to treat it. This can increase the chance of future lung cancer. It’s also common for people with a family history of lung cancer to be at a higher risk.
Symptoms of Lung Cancer
It’s rare for lung cancer to show symptoms during the earliest stages. The cancer needs to develop further and grow before the symptoms really begin to show. When symptoms do show, they can include:
- Chest Pain - This can be a minor or major persistent pain while breathing or not. This can also include bone pain.
- Coughing - This is a persistent coughing that won’t go away despite attempts to clear it.
- Coughing Blood - This is a serious symptom, as coughing up blood is never a good sign. This can be just a small amount of blood, but needs to be checked out.
- Shortness of Breath - It’s likely that people will struggle to breathe somewhat as a symptom.
- Weight Loss - Unexpected weight loss can occur.
- Headache - This is a common symptom of many conditions, but can certainly be used to confirm other symptoms of lung cancer.
- Hoarseness - Those with lung cancer may feel hoarse and struggle to vocalize words at times.
Treating Lung Cancer
First off, preventing lung cancer is the best treatment. Smokers need to quit smoking as quickly as possible. Less people are starting to smoke each year. Beyond avoiding smoking, the most common form of prevention is simply eating a healthy diet and trying to exercise. Living healthy is always a good medical decision.
Most of the treatment options beyond prevention are similar to other forms of cancer. Surgery can be performed to remove sections of the lung that have become diseases and some of the lymph nodes in the area. In some cases, surgery is only available after other treatment options have been used to shrink the cancerous tumors.
These additional treatments include radiation therapy using energy beams. Radiosurgery is an elevated form of this which uses multiple different beams at once. Chemotherapy is a concoction of drugs and medication to eliminate cancer cells. Targeted drug therapy may exploit weaknesses in cancer cells. Immunotherapy boosts and targets the immune system at cancer cells. The right balance of treatment can only be determined by a doctor familiar with their patient’s needs.