What is lung cancer?
Lung cancer is a type of cancer that originates in the lungs and is a prevalent form of cancer worldwide. Increased incidence of smoking and rising levels of air pollution have brought a lot many people into the high-risk category of lung cancer.
Primarily, there are two types of lung cancers that have been identified. The small cell lung cancer, which is evidenced mostly in those who have the habit of smoking; and the non-small cell lung cancer which is further classified as – squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and large cell carcinoma.
What are the causes & risk factors of lung cancer?
Smoking and excessive exposure is air pollution are the two most fundamental causes and prevalent risk factors of lung cancers. However, it must be noted that non-smokers are not completely insulated from this condition. They may be affected either by second-hand smoke or by other risk factors of lung cancer, as enumerated below:
- Exposure to carcinogens and asbestos dust
- Exposure to radon gas
- Family history of lung cancer.
What are the signs & symptoms of lung cancer?
The early stage lung cancer is notorious for being symptom-free. This makes it very difficult to identify for the disease early. However, in the later stages some definite signs to identify lung cancer include
- Persistent cough
- Coughing up blood
- Chest pain
- Unintended weight loss
- Excessive headaches
How can we prevent lung cancer?
Staying away from smoking is one of the best risk-mitigating factors of lung cancer. If you are a smoker, giving up smoking drastically reduces your risk of acquiring lung cancer. Also, it is important to stay away from second hand smoke as well, it may not be as risky as smoking, but it substantially increases your risk of lung cancer.
Additionally, avoiding exposure to carcinogens, pollutants and radon gas are also helpful. A healthy diet rich in fruits & vegetables with a regular exercise regime is also recommended.
What are the treatment options for lung cancer?
Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the treatment options available for lung cancer. Based on the stage of the cancer, location and complexity, a multidisciplinary team of specialists will arrive at the most viable treatment options. Surgery for lung cancer includes:
- Removal of a small section of the lung known as wedge resection
- Removal of a larger section of the lung but not an entire lobe, known as segmental resection.
- Removal of a lobe of the lung but not the entire lung, known as lobectomy.
- Removal of the entire lung known as pneumectomy.