What Is Lung Cancer?

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What Is Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the lungs. Your lungs are two spongy organs in your chest that take in oxygen when you inhale and exhale carbon dioxide. Lung cancer claims more lives each year than do the colon, prostate, ovarian, and breast cancer combined. According to the 2019 statistic, every 2-3 minutes, someone gets diagnosed with lung cancer.

People who smoke have higher risks of lung cancer, though lung cancer can also occur in people who have never smoked. It gets bitter with the duration of time and number of cigarettes you have smoked each day. If you quit smoking, even after smoking for many years, you can significantly reduce the chances of developing lung cancer.

In its earliest stages, lung cancer does no cause apparent signs and symptoms. It typically occurs in its advanced stages. Sign and symptoms may include consistent cough, coughing up blood, shortness of breath, chest pain, bone pain, a headache, losing weight without trying, etc. If any of these signs and symptoms persist, consult your physician immediately.

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If you are a chain smoker, your doctor may ask for multiple appointments to recommend strategies for quitting, such as medication, counseling, and nicotine replacement products. It is because smoking causes the majority of lung cancers. Even people who do not smoke by themselves but get exposed to prolong secondhand smoke are equally prone to developing lung cancer.

Doctors believe that cigarette smoke damages the cells lining the walls of your lungs. When you take in carcinogens, chemical substances in cigarette smoke, they start disrupting the shape of your lung cells. At first, your body can recover the damage. But with consistent exposures, the effect causes cells to act abnormally and develop into cancer.

Doctors divide lung cancer into two main types depending upon the shape of lung cancer cells under the microscope. Depending upon the type, your medication will start. The two general types include:

1.Small cell lung cancer: it occurs almost exclusively in heavy or chain smokers. It is less common than the other kind.

2.Non-small lung cancer: It includes several types of lung cancers that behave in a similar way. For example, squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, large cell carcinoma, etc.

Apart from smoking or passive smoking, unsafe levels of radon accumulated in houses or any building can also cause lung cancer. Radon is produced by the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water that eventually becomes the part of air that you breathe. Workplace exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens such as arsenic, chromium, and nickel aggravates the risk if you are already a smoker. People with a family history of lung cancer also have increased chances at any age of their life.

Lung cancer can also spread to other parts of the body known as metastasis, such as the brain and the bones. Cancer that metastasizes can cause pain, nausea, headaches, or other sign and symptoms depending upon the affected organ. Once lung cancer has spread beyond the lungs, it’s generally not curable. However, treatments are available to suppress their signs and symptoms that help you live longer. In advanced stages, treatments like chemotherapy, medication, draining of fluids, etc. are given depending upon the condition of the patient.

There is no sure way to prevent lung cancer, but you can reduce the chances of developing it by quitting smoking altogether or exposure to consistent passive smoking. Test your home for radon levels, avoid carcinogens at work, eat a healthy diet, and do exercise regularly.   

Until Next Time,

Team Doctor ASKY!

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