Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the world and this fact alone is enough to realize its seriousness. Lung cancer is a cancer that begins in the human lungs. The disease is categorized into various stages and an advanced stage is almost always fatal. The manifestation of symptoms of lung cancer is late and this is why, it is difficult to diagnose it at an early stage.
Lung Cancer Drugs
Lung Cancer Symptoms
There are two kinds of lung cancers, namely small cell lung cancer and non small cell lung cancer.
Lung Cancer Causes
Below you will find a the most common causes leading to leukemia.
- Cigarette smoking: The major cause of lung cancer is tobacco inhalation, usually with smoking cigarettes. Researches suggest that among those who smoke two or more packs of cigarettes a day, one in seven will die of lung cancer.
- Passive Smoking: Sadly, people who come in contact with cigarette smoke, i.e. passive smokers, are equally susceptible to have lung cancer.
- Exposure to Radon gas: Radon is a gas that is formed by the breakdown of radium, a radioactive element. The gas is colorless as well as odourless. In the US, Radon is the second most common reasons for lung cancer.
- Asbestos: Having a synergistic effect with tobacco, asbestos exposure increases the chances of a smoker to get lung cancer by 45%.
- Genetics: Many researches have linked the role of genes with lung cancer. Sometimes, the cancer runs in families and the member are at a higher risk than others.
Lung Cancer Diagnosis
There is a range of diagnostic tests that are used, including:
- Imaging: X rays of the lungs are one of the first tests used for detecting the disease. CT scans may also be used to reveal very small lesions which may go unnoticed in an x ray.
- Lung biopsy: A small piece of tissue is taken from the lungs through a needle inserted in the skin. This tissue is then tested for cancer.
- Bronchoscopy: In this method, a small tube is inserted from the mouth or nose into the lungs. The tube, which has a light at an end, lets the doctor see the tissues and then remove a piece of it.
- Sputum Cytology: If a person is having recurrent cough with the formation of sputum, this sputum may also be tested for cancer.
Lung Cancer Treatment
The treatment of lung cancer depends on both the stage of the cancer and the health history of the patient. Here are some of the major treatments:
- Surgery: If the cancer is localized, i.e. has not spread to other parts of the lung or organs, the cancerous part can be removed surgically.
- Radiation therapy: Often used along with chemotherapy, radiation is used to kill the cancerous cells in patients who are not eligible for surgery.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy includes the use of drugs to kill the cancer cells. These drugs may be inserted through the veins (intravenously) or taken orally. Chemotherapy is often used after surgery to stop any regrowth of the cancerous cells.
- Targeted Drug Therapy: A relatively new field, target drug therapy uses drugs that target specific abnormalities in the cancer cells. These drugs include Avastin, Tarceva and Xalkori.