What is lung cancer?

Lung cancer is what many refer to as one of the deadliest forms of cancer. This type of cancer begins in the lungs and migrates to other organs and lymph nodes. However, cancer can begin in another area of the body and travel (metastasise) to the lungs; this condition is referred to as secondary lung cancer. There exist primarily two types of lung cancer: (i) non-small cell cancer and (ii) small cell cancer that grow at different rates. These types of cancer differ considerably, even though non-small cell lung cancer is more common among people.

How do you treat lung cancer?

Treatment for lung cancer depends on your general health, how far along the cancer is and the classification or type of cancer mutation. Surgery involves removing a section of the lung that is affected by cancer. In some cases, surgery may not be feasible due to the patient's general health, in which case radiotherapy to eliminate the cancer cells may be used. On the other hand, suppose cancer has spread too far; in that case, surgery and radiotherapy may not be effective, so your oncologist will recommend chemotherapy.

Targeted therapies consist of medications that target changes in the cancer cells, helping them develop. While targeted therapies are not a definite cure for lung cancer, these medications can stunt the growth of cancer cells.

What is the outlook on lung cancer treatment?

Normally, after removing cancer surgically, you must remain overnight in the hospital for two to seven weeks. However, for open surgery, you must remain in the hospital much longer. This is because it can take weeks or months to recover fully. Depending on the type and grade of cancer, your oncologist will suggest a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy.

Symptoms of lung cancer only begin to show when the condition has advanced. An early diagnosis of lung cancer helps as it increases your survival rate significantly.


What are the common signs of lung cancer?

Advanced lung cancer can cause the following symptoms:

  • Coughing
  • Spitting up blood
  • Breathlessness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Pain when coughing or breathing

Who can get lung cancer?

Older people, normally 70 and over, are more susceptible to lung cancer. Smoking can also increase your risk of lung cancer.


How does lung cancer occur?

Lung cancer occurs for a number of reasons related to smoking, radon exposure and overexposure to environmental pollution.

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