Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the lung. Normal lung tissue is made up of cells that are programmed by nature to create lungs of a certain shape and function. Sometimes the instructions to a cell go haywire and that cell and its offspring reproduce wildly, without regard for the shape and function of a lung. That wild reproduction can form tumours that clog up the lung and make it stop functioning as it should. Because of the large size of the lungs, cancer may grow for many years, undetected, without causing suspicion. In fact, lung cancer can spread outside the lungs without causing any symptoms at all.
The majority of people who get lung cancer have been cigarette smokers, but not all people who smoke get lung cancer, many people who have never smoked before still get it. Some causes of lung cancer can include smoking, air pollution, vitamin A deficiency or genetic factors. SYMPTOMS OF LUNG CANCER Here are some symptoms of lung cancer-A cough is one of the more common symptoms and is likely to happen when a tumour grows and blocks an air passage. -Chest, shoulder, or back pain is another. -Shortness of breath, fatigue, repeated pneumonia or bronchitis, coughing up blood or swelling of the neck and face. The graph below shows some more symptoms and the frequency of each.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF LUNG CANCER The type of cells found in a tumour determines the kind of cancer. The two main types of lung cancer are small cell and non-small cell. The terms small cell and non- small cell refer to the type of cell a doctor can see under the microscope, not to the size of the tumour. There are more than a dozen different kinds of lung cancer. Small cell carcinoma (also called oat cell carcinoma) This cancer usually starts in one of the larger breathing tubes, grows fairly rapidly, and is likely to be large by the time of diagnosis. Non small cell lung cancer: is mad up of the following three subtypes: -Epidermoid carcinomaThis cancer usually starts in one of the larger breathing tubes and grows relatively slowly.
The size of these tumours can range from very small to quite large. -Adenocarcinoma carcinomaThis lung cancer starts growing near the outside surface of the lung and may vary in both size and growth rate. Some slowly growing adenocarcinomas are call alveolar cell cancer. -Large cell carcinoma Starts near the surface of the lung, grows rapidly, and is usually large when diagnosed. The names of some of the uncommon types of lung cancer are carcinoid, cylindroma, muco epidermoid, and malignant mesothelioma. Only about 5% to 10% of lung cancers are of these types.
WHO GETS LUNG CANCER Studies show that people living in the United Kingdom have the highest risk of developing lung cancer the reason being is that the UK is a very industrialised country. People at the highest risk of receiving lung cancer include: -Those living in a Western ised society. - Those who smoke. - Those who are 60 or over. - Those who live in an urban environment. TREATMENT Treatment for non-small cell cancer is usually surgery.
The only times when an operation will not be useful is if: 1. The cancer has spread outside the chest. 2. If the cancer is pressing on the major airways of the chest. 3. If the cancer is invading the trachea.
4. If the cancer is invading the heart or major blood vessels. 5. If there is fluid around the lung. 6. Or if there is loss of voice.
Treatment of small-cell lung cancer can be chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery or immunotherapy. At the moment many scientists are trying to find a more reliable technique in curing lung cancer.