Cancer is a condition in which the body’s cells multiply in an uncontrolled manner. Lung cancer is a term used to describe cancer that first appears inside the lungs. The most common cancer that results in death is lung cancer. Moreover, the second-most prevalent type of cancer in men and women is lung cancer/lung carcinoma. Several risk factors have been determined through research that could raise your risk of developing lung cancer.
Lung cancer is most commonly caused by smoking cigarettes. Smoking other forms of tobacco (such as cigars), inhaling second-hand smoke, getting exposed to asbestos or radiation at home or work, as well as having a family member with the illness are risk factors that are further associated with lung cancer.
Many lung cancer survivors are living longer owing to earlier diagnoses, new medicines, and improved care plans. It’s crucial to receive the care you want for a lung cancer cure when you require it. You should receive fast and proper care for lung cancer cure to address any accompanying symptoms (including pain) or any treatment-related adverse effects. Whether you smoke or not, lung cancer signs and symptoms remain the same for everyone. Some people constantly feel fatigued or unwell, which is a common symptom of lung cancer. Some patients cough a lot, spit blood when they cough, have chest pain, and experience breathlessness. Speak with your lung specialist if you experience any of these signs; they can assist in determining the cause and assist in lung cancer care as well as cure.
Types of lung cancer
Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC)
A rare and quickly spreading type of lung cancer is small-cell lung cancer. Although it can affect anyone, individuals with a longer history of tobacco use are more likely to experience small-cell lung carcinoma. If the condition is diagnosed early, medical professionals can cure some patients, while helping them to live longer. Among cancer diagnoses, small-cell lung cancer accounts for 15% of cases. Fewer people get SCLC than non-small cell lung cancer. Normal lung cells mutate or transform into malignant cells to cause small-cell lung cancer. Thereafter, these cells start to grow and divide rapidly. Your lungs eventually develop malignant lung tumours.
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
The most typical form of lung cancer is non-small cell lung cancer. Cancerous cells start growing within your lung tissues if you have this disease. When compared to small-cell lung cancer, non-small-cell lung cancer develops slowly, but by the time it is discovered, it has frequently spread to other regions of the body. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to prevent it from spreading to other regions of the body. The most typical symptoms of non-small cell carcinoma are breathlessness and a persistent cough. According to the cell type detected in the lung tumour, there are three primary categories of NSCLC:
Squamous cell carcinomas – They make up between 25% and 30% of all the cases of lung cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma most typically develops in the bronchi in the middle of the chest. This specific variety of lung cancer frequently remains localised inside the lung, progresses to lymph nodes, and develops into a huge cavity.
Adenocarcinoma lung cancer – This is the most prevalent form of NSCLC. Adenocarcinomas, like other types of lung cancer, are linked to smoking; however, non-smokers, particularly women, are susceptible to this type of lung cancer. The exterior, or peripheral, parts of both lungs are where most adenocarcinomas develop. They also frequently progress to the lymphatic system and other regions in the body.
Adenocarcinoma in situ is a kind of adenocarcinoma that usually appears at many locations inside the lungs and progresses along the underlying alveolar walls. It frequently occurs in women. Compared with those with other varieties of lung cancer, individuals with this type typically have a long life expectancy. In contrast with other kinds of lung cancer, it is also more probable to happen at a young age.
Large cell carcinomas – The least frequent form of NSCLC accounts for 10% to 15% of all cases of lung cancer. This form of cancer seems to have a strong affinity to spread to distant places like lymph nodes.
Other types of lung cancer
Pleural mesothelioma – A malignancy that develops in the tissue lining your chest as well as your lungs is called pleural mesothelioma. Asbestos, a substance used in building materials, was a major cause of disease in the majority of instances. Although there is no known cure for pleural mesothelioma, therapies like operation, radiation treatment, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy may be able to prolong your life.
Bronchial carcinoids – Up to 5% of lung cancer cases are bronchial carcinoids. When diagnosed, these tumours are often tiny (3 to 4 cm) and most frequently affect people under the age of 40 years. Carcinoid tumours can spread, and a tiny percentage of these tumours release hormone-like compounds. Many carcinoids are discovered early enough to conduct surgical removal, and they often develop and progress more gradually than bronchogenic cancers.
Stages of lung cancer
Cancer stages describe the extent of the disease and aid in treatment planning. When lung cancer is detected and treated early, the likelihood of an effective or curable treatment significantly increases.
Stages of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
Stage 0 – A non-small cell lung cancer is a form of initial lung cancer that has not gone beyond the top layer of the lungs and bronchus.
Stage 1 – This is divided into 1A and 1B substages according to the size of the lung tumour. Cancer is categorised as Stage I NSCLC if it has not progressed towards any other organs or lymph nodes.
Stage 2 –Based on the size of the tumour, the location of the tumour, and whether lung cancer has progressed to the lymph nodes, it is further categorised into stage IIA and stage IIB. These tumours have started to spread to surrounding lymph nodes and may be bigger than those in stage I. However, surrounding organs are not affected by stage 2 lung cancer.
Stage 3 – Depending on the size, position, and extent of the lung tumour, stage IIIA, IIIB, or IIIC lung cancers are identified. Most frequently, cancer progresses to the mediastinal lymph nodes (the portion in the chest between the lungs) in this stage.
Stage 4 – The most developed type of lung cancer is called non-small cell lung cancer. Stage 4 refers to the spread of cancer towards other organs in the body or the wall of the lung.
Stages of small-cell lung cancer (SCLC)
Limited-stage SCLC – This is restricted to a single lung and may occasionally be found inside the lymphatic system in the centre of the chest or over the collarbone on the same side.
Extensive stage SCLC – In this stage, the adjacent lung or other distant organs are impacted by lung cancer that has progressed from the original damaged lung.
Risk factors for lung cancer
Several variables may affect the likelihood of developing lung cancer. By giving up a bad habit, like smoking, you can lower some risk factors.
Risk factors associated with lung cancer might include:
Smoking – Smoking cigarettes daily and for a long period increases your risk of acquiring lung cancer.
Second-hand smoke – If you are exposed to second-hand (surrounding) smoke, your risk of acquiring lung cancer raises.
Exposure to radon – Uranium in the soil, rocks, and water naturally breaks down to form radon, which mixes with the oxygen you inhale. This can raise your risk of lung cancer.
Radiation therapy – You may be more likely to get lung cancer if you’ve received radiation treatment on the chest.
Carcinogens and asbestos exposure – If you interact with asbestos and other cancer-causing substances, like arsenic, while working, your risk of developing lung cancer may increase.
Family history – Lung cancer is more common in people who have a sibling, child, or parent having acquired the disease.
Complications caused by lung cancer
Complications from lung cancer include the following:
Blood in cough – Lung cancer may result in airway bleeding, which may lead to coughing up blood (haemoptysis).
Breathlessness – If lung cancer spreads to the major bronchi, it can cause individuals with lung cancer to have trouble breathing.
Fluid in the chest – Fluid may build up around the damaged lung inside the chest cavity as a result of lung cancer. Breathlessness may result from fluid building up in the chest.
Pain – Pain may be caused by severe lung cancer that has progressed to the lung’s wall or a different part of the body, including the bone.
Several body parts are affected by cancer. Bones as well as the brain are two common sites where lung cancer progresses (metastasises). Based on the organ involved, cancer that progresses can result in discomfort, nausea, migraines, or other symptoms.
Symptoms of lung cancer
Lung cancer symptoms are not usually present in the early phases. Early symptoms can include symptoms like back discomfort and warning indications like breathlessness. Back discomfort might develop when tumours strain on your lungs, grow to your spinal cord or affect your ribs.
Some symptoms of lung cancer may also include:
- A persistent or severe cough
- Having a bloody or phlegmatic cough
- Heavy breathing, laughing, or coughing make your chest ache worse
- Tiredness and weakness
- Decrease in appetite and body weight
- Persistent respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia or bronchitis
Diagnosis of lung cancer
The initial steps in making a lung cancer diagnosis are a medical exam and a visit to a lung specialist. They’ll want to look through your medical background and any present concerns you might be having. Moreover, tests are necessary to confirm the illness. These tests include:
Sputum cytology – A microscopic analysis of the sputum you cough up can identify the existence of cancerous cells.
Imaging tests – Images from chest X-rays and computed tomography might show your lung specialist irregularities in your lungs. To assess a troubling CT scan outcome or to ascertain if cancer has advanced following a cancer diagnosis, PET/CT scans are frequently performed.
Biopsy – A biopsy procedure enables the extraction of a specimen of abnormal cells. Your lung specialist (pulmonologist) may perform a biopsy using a variety of techniques, such as bronchoscopy, which includes inserting a lighted tube into your throat and then into your lungs to look for problematic lung tissue.
Lung needle biopsy – Your lung specialist will penetrate the thoracic (chest) wall and then insert a needle into the problematic lung tissue during this procedure. A needle biopsy can also be used to check lymph nodes. It is frequently performed at a hospital, where you will be given an anaesthetic to put you to sleep.
Mediastinoscopy – Your lung specialist creates a neck incision to perform a mediastinoscopy. To collect specimens from lymph nodes, a fluorescent instrument is introduced from the incision and surgical tools are employed for the diagnostic process.
Role of surgery and chemotherapy in lung cancer cure
Surgery for lung cancer cure
Your surgeon performs the surgical removal of cancerous lung tissues along with a portion of the healthy tissue. There are several methods used for lung cancer cure with the help of surgery, such as:
- With a wedge resection, the tumour-containing lung tissue and a portion of normal tissue are removed.
- Using a segmented resection, only a piece of the lung is only removed rather than a whole lobe.
- One lung’s whole lobe is removed during a lobectomy.
- A complete lung is removed during a pneumonectomy.
The removal of your chest lymph nodes after surgery will allow your lung specialist to examine them for any indications of cancer. If your lung cancer is limited to your lungs, surgery can be a possibility. To decrease a significantly larger cancer before surgery, your lung specialist might advise chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Your lung specialist may advise chemotherapy or radiation therapy following surgery if there’s a chance that cancerous cells are left behind or if your cancer might relapse.
Chemotherapy for lung cancer cure
Drugs are used in chemotherapy for lung cancer to eliminate cancerous cells. It is possible to get one or more chemotherapy medications intravenously. Treatments using a combination of medications are often administered over a few months or weeks, with intervals in between two sessions to allow for recovery. Following surgery, chemotherapy for lung cancer is frequently administered to eradicate any cancerous cells that could have survived. Radiation therapy may be coupled with it or used alone. Chemotherapy for lung cancer can be utilised to treat advanced lung cancer patients’ discomfort as well as other complications.
Lung cancer prevention
Lung cancer cannot be completely avoided. However, if you do these things, you can minimise your risk –
Quit smoking – The most significant risk for lung cancer is smoking. Quitting smoking significantly lowers your risk of getting lung cancer.
Radiation safety – To help lower your exposure and risk of developing lung cancer, have your residence inspected for radiation.
Avoid other cancer-causing substances – Your risk can be decreased by minimising your contact with additional cancer-causing substances.
Consume a balanced diet – Some data suggest that consuming a diet rich in fruits as well as vegetables can lower your likelihood of getting lung cancer.
Diet for people with lung cancer
You may experience appetite loss as a result of cancer therapies. These therapies may also affect your body’s capacity for absorbing vitamins. If you’re lacking in a certain nutrient, your doctor can suggest specific meals or supplements for you.
Here are some nutritional suggestions –
- Eat anytime you are hungry.
- Try and eat smaller portions every few hours.
- Supplement with limited sugar, calorie-rich foods and beverages if you need to put on weight.
- Teas with mint and ginger can assist with relaxing your stomach.
- Avoid spicy meals if you have mouth ulcers or a sensitive stomach.
- Increase your intake of high-fibre foods if constipation is a concern.
How does lung cancer start?
Normal lung cells transform or modify in a way that changes their regular cycle of growth and cellular death, leading to uncontrolled cell division that results in an excess number of cells which build up and develop lung tumours or lumps that can be seen on a chest X-ray or computerised tomography.
Is lung cancer Painful?
Pain can result from severe lung cancer, which has progressed to the lung's wall or a different part of the body, including the bone. If you have pain, let your doctor know because there are various therapies available to reduce it.
Does lung cancer spread quickly?
Each patient has a different rate of lung cancer progression. Yet, in general, lung cancer expands rapidly and grows fast.
How long can you live with lung cancer?
The stage, type, and severity of lung cancer you are diagnosed with determine how long you can expect to live with it. Depending on the extent and timing of your cancer's detection, you may live for a year, ten years, or even longer.
Your sensitivity to particular foods may increase as your treatment progresses. It’s important to talk to your doctor about nutrition. You can also request your doctor to recommend you a dietitian or nutritionist.