Lung cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the lungs and can spread to other parts of the body. Cancer begins when cells of the body grow out uncontrollably. Cigarette smoking is the most common factor in the development of lung cancer. The risk of lung cancer increases with the amount of time and the number of cigarettes you have consumed. If you even quit smoking, you can reduce your chances of developing lung cancer, but over several years.
Lung cancer usually doesn’t cause signs and symptoms in its initial stages.
Some of the common symptoms include:
- cough that doesn’t go away
- Coughing up blood
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Losing weight
- Bone pain
As cancer spreads, new symptoms start to appear. Some of them are listed below:
- lymph nodes: lumps in the neck or collarbone
- bones: pain in the bones of the back, ribs, or hips
- brain or spine: headache, dizziness and issues with balance
- liver: yellowing of skin and eyes (jaundice)
Smoking is the central cause of lung cancer. The other causes are as follows:
- Exposure to secondhand smoke: Even if you don’t smoke, your risk increases if you are in a room filled with smoke, i.e. second-hand smoke.
- Previous radiation therapy: The risk will increase if you have undergone radiation therapy.
- Exposure to radon gas: Unsafe levels of radon can accumulate in any building, including homes, if they are inhaled in, they can be risky.
- Genetics: If someone in your family has suffered from lung cancer, your chances increase.
You mainly have three options that are radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery. Let’s discuss them one by one:
- Surgery: In surgery, your surgeon will remove the lung cancer and some healthy tissue. Surgery is an option if the cancer is present only in the lungs.
- Radiation Therapy: In radiation therapy, high-powered energy beams from sources are used, such as X-rays and protons to kill cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs targeted to kill cancer cells. It is usually used in combination with surgery. Drugs usually are given in a series of treatments over weeks or months.