All are aware, cancer is the abnormal growth of cells which forms into a tumor or lump. Cancer might also happen in your lungs. A sponge-like organ found in your chest is called lungs whose main job is to bring in oxygen and get rid of the carbon dioxide. Normally, the air gets into your lungs through windpipe when you breathe in the air. There are two types of lung cancers as given below:
- Non-small cell lung cancer: This type of lung cancer will mostly be non-small cell. These are classified into squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma as well as large cell carcinoma.
- Small cell lung cancer: These are less common when compared to non-small cell lung cancer. It is also called oat cell cancer as they are shaped like oats when seen through a microscope. However, these will grow and spread faster when compared to non-small cell cancer.
The risk factors of lung cancer are:
- Radon exposure
- Exposure to second-hand smoke
- Getting exposed to asbestos and other chemicals like arsenic as well as coal products
- Radiation therapy to the chest
- Air pollution
- Family history
- Personal history
Symptoms of lung cancer:
Normally, lung cancer is detected only when it has already spread. The lung cancer symptoms are:
- Cough for a long time or gets worse over time
- When you cough or breathe there will be a severe Chest pain which will also get worse
- Coughing up rust-colored mucus or blood
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling tired or weak
- Loss of appetite or unexpected weight loss
- If you have Pneumonia or bronchitis which is unusual
Mostly these are caused by some other health problems. But it is good to visit the best cancer hospital in India if the symptom persists.
Most of the lung cancer is caused due to smoking. Smoking damages your lung tissues. Though lungs can repair it, continued exposure to smoking will cause major damage that cannot be cured. Some other causes are:
- Some petroleum products
- Genetic mutations
But of course, sometimes there are no specific reasons for lung cancer.
Diagnosing of lung cancer:
Some of the diagnosis done for lung cancer is:
- Imaging tests
- Sputum Cytology
Normally, they will take the tissue and send it to a pathologist for analysis. In case, it is found positive, you will have to talk to an oncologist for further treatment.
There are several best cancer hospital in India and it is also advisable to have a second opinion and then to begin the treatment. You will be treated by a team of:
- A thoracic surgeon who is a specialist in the chest and lungs
- A medical oncologist
- A lung specialist (pulmonologist)
- A radiation oncologist
Have a detailed discussion with your doctors and they will coordinate care and will inform each other. Non-small cell lung cancer treatment will be as follows:
- Stage I NSCLC: Surgery to remove a portion of the lung and also Chemotherapy in case of a high risk of recurrence
- Stage II NSCLC: A part or entire lung will have to be removed. Chemotherapy will also be recommended.
- Stage III NSCLC: It will be a combination of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation treatment.
- Stage IV NSCLC: It is very hard to cure and might have to undergo surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy.
For Small Cell Lung Cancer, options involved are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. This kind of cancer will only be detected at the advanced level and not advisable for a surgery.
Once you are detected with cancer you will need to speak to an oncologist who will plan your treatment. So, it is always advisable to be aware of the symptoms of lung cancer and get the advice of the doctor at the right time.