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Lung Cancer
Naomi Yang 08/23/2019 02:53 AM CST


The term cancer is used to denote those diseases, in which abnormal cells are able to divide without any control and capture the nearby tissues. These abnormal cells, or cancer cells, have the ability to spread to different body parts. Nowadays there are more than one hundred kinds of cancer. Usually they are named after organs and parts of the body, where the cancer started. Say, the lung cancer, which starts in the cells of lungs, is called lung cancer, or brain cancer, which starts in the cells of the brain, is called brain cancer. This essay is concentrated on the lung cancer and touches such topics as general knowledge of disease, its symptoms, available and potential treatments, etc.

In the year 2012, a bit more than 226,000 Americans were diagnosed with lung cancer (in 2011 the number was 402,324). According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2014, there were estimated 224,210 new lung cancer cases (13.5% out of all new cancer cases), that led to 159,260 deaths (27.2% out of all cancer deaths). To be exact, the number of new cases of lung cancer was 60.1 per 100.000 men and women a year. At the same time, the number of death was 48.4 per 100,000 men and women per year. According to the data, males are more often diagnosed with cancer than females. Talking about the age, the most frequent ages when lung cancer is diagnosed are 65-74 and 75+. What is worth mentioning is that the percent of surviving during the period of five years (2004-2010) is 16.8%. The most common lung cancer symptoms are estimated as follows: pain or discomfort in chest, breathing troubles, hoarseness, appetite loss, rapid weight loss, the feeling of tiredness, and others. The most prevalent cause of the disease is smoking. More than 85% of all lung cancer cases in the USA are smoking-related. The earlier the person starts smoking on the regular basis, the higher the risk of lung cancer is. Anything that increases the chance to get a disease is called a ‘risk factor’. Talking about risk factors for the above-mentioned disease, scientists distinguish the following: smoking, secondhand smoke, lung cancer family history, being infected with HIV, living in the air polluted area, being exposed to tar, nickel, asbestos, or arsenic in the workplace.

So, what are the main peculiarities of lung cancer? Lungs constitute a pair of large chest organs. When a man breathes in, the lugs are expanded with air. This is the way, in which the body gets oxygen. When a man breathes out, air goes out of the lungs. In this way the body releases from carbon dioxide (gas, a waste product made by the body). Human tissues and organs are made of building blocks, which are called cells. Cancer begins in cells. Normal cells grow old; they get damaged, then die and are superseded by new ones. Sometimes this process does not follow the usual order. When new cells are formed without any need, they form a tumor. Tumor of the lungs can be of two types: benign (not cancer) and malignant (cancer). Contrary to the first one, the second type poses a threat to life and may spread to other body parts. Spreading is made through blood vessels and lymph vessels. Afterwards, cancer cells attach to other tissues forming tumors. Thus, direct extension through blood causes cancer spreading or metastasis. Bronchial tube tumor grows and partially or completely obstructs the bronchi. Moreover, tumor tends to obstruct the airway. The oxygenation process is usually destroyed through blood vessels, alveoli, and nerves. The severity of metastasis depends on the type of tumor cells and tumor location.

Lung cancer is usually divided into two types – small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. About one of every eight people with this disease has the first type, while the rest experience the second one. Both types have stages that are classified in accordance with the tumor size, invasion of nearby tissues, and the spread of cancer cells. Healthcare professionals describe four stages of non-small cell lung cancer. Stage I is the early stage cancer, and Stage IV is the advanced cancer, that has spread to other body parts. In addition, there are also the limited and extensive stages of cancer. The first one is the stage when cancer affects only one side of the chest. The extensive stage characterizes the cancer that is in distant organs.

People with lung cancer have many treatment options, which include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. The right treatment option depends on the type and stage of the lung cancer. On the early stages, a surgeon usually removes only part of the lung. However, in case of advanced cancer, the whole lung has to be removed.

Radiation therapy is considered an option for the patients with any lung cancer stage. In this way, the therapy affects cells only in certain organs. The treatment usually takes six weeks (five days a week, twenty minutes a day). However, one should be careful with this treatment because there can appear side effects, such as a sore throat, cough, breath shortness, etc. In case of advanced lung cancer, chemotherapy is used together with the radiation therapy. Next goes chemotherapy that can be used alone, after surgery, or in combination with radiation therapy. During chemotherapy, doctors prescribe drugs that kill cancer cells. It is essential to remember that there are numerous side effects, such as diarrhea, joint pain, vomiting, high blood pressure, and others, which depend on the drugs. The advantage of targeted therapy is that it can block the spread and growth of lung cancer cells.

There appears an obvious question: whether lung cancer is inherited or acquired. The thing is that there is no direct hereditary transmission of this type of cancer, but predisposition to some kinds of cancer can be inherited. Anyway, the idea of cancer inheritance has mostly the character of probability, but not a direct transmission.

Nowadays, doctors are looking for the ways to prevent lung cancer. Numerous researches are carried out to find proper treatment, which is better than surgery techniques. The prospective fields for this are personalized therapy and immunotherapy, which is also called ‘biologic therapy’. From the scientific point of view, the last one is of bigger interest because it is working on how to boost the body’s natural defense to fight the cancer by means of using native body materials aiming to restore the immune system.

As it was already mentioned, more than 85% of all lung cancer cases are smoking-related. In some ways, this is an answer how to reduce the possibility of getting lung cancer. This is the most real and efficient preventive means – for minimizing risk factors, first of all, it is necessary to give up smoking. That is why proper organized tobacco usage control has all the chances to reduce the rate of lung cancer disease.

Thus, there are different symptoms of lung cancer. However, many people do not feel them until they have a metastatic disease. This type of cancer tends to spread into kidneys, liver, bones, adrenal glands, and other organs. The disease treatment depends on the cell type and includes surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

If the article was cognitive for you, proceed to read other exclusive paper on our web. Most of the articles are written by Naomi Yang, a professional writer.