What is Lung Cancer

The lungs are the primary organs of the Respiratory System. They lie above the diaphragm and below the sternum and on either side of the chest or thorax. Their function is to extract oxygen from the atmosphere and transfer it into the bloodstream and to release carbon dioxide from the bloodstream and into the atmosphere in a process called gas exchange.

Lung Cancer is also known as long carcinoma begins at the lungs and most often occurs in people who smoke. If left untreated this uncontrolled growth can spread beyond the lungs into nearby tissues by a process called metastasis.

One thing to note is that the two types of lung cancer which grow and spread differently are small cell lung cancers and non-small cell lung cancers. Non-small-cell lung cancer is the most common and makes up 85% of the lung cancers.

lung cancer stages

Types of lung cancer

To determine the type of patient has cancer cells need to be taken from either fluid around the lungs or from a lung tissue sample known as a biopsy or from a sputum sample and then this sample is taken back to the lab where the cells are looked at under a microscope and the diagnosis is made based on some characteristics of the cell.

There are two main categories of lung cancer one being small cell lung cancer and the other non-small cell lung cancer,

Small cell lung cancer

small cell lung cancer

The tiny small cell then doesn’t have much distance from one side to the other, and that means its nucleus and cell wall are close to each other also like a baby.

This particular type of cell is not fully developed small cell lung cancer. Typically occurs in females with a long history of smoking.

Things to keep in mind about this type of lung cancer is that it divides quickly and spreads rapidly throughout the body, in fact by the time it’s diagnosed it’s usually in numerous locations in the body.

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Non-Small cell lung cancer

Non small cell lung cancer

A non-small cell lung cancer is divided in subcategories called Adenocarcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma, Large cell carcinoma, and Carcinoid.

Adenocarcinoma

A big cell with lots of distance from the nucleus to the cell wall and this mature cell has the function of secreting musin. Musin is responsible for keeping the lungs moist if this cell becomes cancerous it’s called in Adenocarcinoma.

Adenocarcinoma is glandular in appearance and tends to grow slower than the other types and is the most common among non-smokers. It also accounts for 40% of lung cancers and more common in women than in men.

Squamous cell carcinoma

Again big cells with large but they’re a little flatter this time and they’re kind of stapled together by desmosome and it helps the cells create a barrier between the airways and the rest of the body keratin is also in this cells. If these cells become cancerous it’s called a Squamous cell carcinoma.

Squamous cell carcinoma also known as epidermoid carcinoma is large and flattened appearance. It accounts for 25 to 30 percent of lung cancers often linked to smoking and found to form in the central area of the lung.

Squamous cell carcinoma occurs about 30% of the time in males who have a history of smoking and of all the non-small-cell lung cancers, this one has the greatest link to smoking.

Large cell carcinoma

large round cell and actually, it doesn’t have much more defining characteristics than that so it’s simply called a large cell carcinoma, and it occurs in male smokers. large cell carcinomas occur in 10% of all non-small cell lung cancers and it is found to form in any part of the lung.

Carcinoid

Carcinoid is a flask-shaped cell that has added space in nerves and when it receives signals from these nerves, it releases hormones so, if one of these cells becomes cancerous this is called a carcinoid. This type of cancer affects 5% and both males and females have an equal risk of developing carcinoid cancers.

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Usually, they occur when the disease is already advanced there are several risk factors that increase the chance for cancer. Some can be controlled such as quitting smoking while others cannot such as a family history.

In terms of treatment, the doctor chooses a cancer treatment plan based on a number of factors such as the patient’s overall health the type and stage of cancer and the patient’s preferences.

Signs of lung cancer

The body before being detected some of the early symptoms:

  1. Back and shoulder pain
  2. Shortness of breath while exercising
  3. Increased mucus and changed in color
  4. Chest shoulder and back pain
  5. A persistent cough
  6. Coughing blood
  7. Coughing up phlegm or mucus with blood
  8. Harsh sound while breathing
  9. Shortness of breath
  10. A headache
  11. Fatigue
  12. Loss of muscle mass
  13. Appetite loss and unexplained weight loss
  14. Blood clots
  15. Neck or face selling
  16. Loss of memory
  17. Bone fractures that are not caused by accidental injury
  18. Wheezing

Treatment

There are a few treatment options for lung cancer and which treatment a lung cancer patient will receive depends on two things, the stage and the type.

The stage of lung cancer is determined most of a medical imaging called the cat scan, or a CT scan, gives a good 3d view of the cancer cells MRIs or magnetic resonance images give a similar image but they don’t use radiation to take the picture of the lungs and finally, PET scans or positron emission tomography track the energy use of the cancer cells to give a 3d image as well and these are all good because they give an exact location of the cancer cells and an idea of how far the cancer cells have spread.

Treatment depends upon the condition of the patient after inspecting reports whether the patient will receive surgery or radiotherapy or chemotherapy or some sort of combination of these three.

  1. Surgery

The Lungs can be divided into two lobes, after examination of cancer cells the surgeon will remove the damaged cells, Then the surgeon will sew up the parts of the lung tissue which is called as a Wedge Resection.

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If the cancer cells had spread to other places along this segment, then the surgeon will have to take out the entire lobe. But if masses of cancer cells are detected in multiple areas of the lobes of the lungs then the surgeon will opt to take out the entire lung in a procedure called a pneumonectomy.

After removing the whole lung the airway is sealed off, so that air doesn’t escape into the chest when the patient’s breathing.

2. Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy is a treatment option that uses radiation and when the radiation reaches the cancer cells it damages them so greatly that the cancer cells can die.

But the radiation is going to have this effect in the normal healthy cells and so the radiation really needs to be targeted accurately to the cancer cells with medical imaging.

The radiation may be administered internally by putting a probe into the lungs. Some types of lung cancer like small cell lung cancer are more responsive to this type of therapy.

3. Chemotherapy 

Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment meaning it’s going to go everywhere in the body through the vasculature. There are cancer cells in the lung tissue compressing the airway chemotherapy traveling in the blood it’s going to come to these cancer cells and be taken up with the nutrients that the cancer cell are extracting from the blood.

If the cancer cells are dividing, the chemotherapy is going to stop the division and this division is going to kill the cancer cells with the hope that healthy normal cells will grow back.

Chemotherapy has many side effects like hair fall, weight loss, nausea and other unexpected side effects like sudden death or blood cancer.