Lung Cancer: Everything You Need to Know
Cancer continues to be one of the deadliest diseases in the world, despite advances in medical technology. Many cancers exist nowadays. The world’s most severe cancer at the moment, meanwhile, is lung cancer. Because of the high mortality rate linked with it, lung cancer is said to be the worst cancer in the world. Only 17% of lung cancer patients will survive five years after diagnosis. This is because over two-thirds of lung cancer patients experience a late diagnosis when their cancers have already migrated to many locations throughout the body. While lung cancer has a terrible prognosis, a timely diagnosis and effective treatment can significantly alter it.
Lung cancer is reportedly becoming a significant healthcare issue in India, where it is expected that over 1 lakh recent cases would occur over the next five years. Lung cancer is more common in men (around 70% of cases). However, over the past ten years, the incidence has also been slowly increasing in women. The frequency is higher in people aged 55 to 70. Because of a lack of public education and screening programmes in our nation, the majority (50%) of patients receive a lung cancer diagnosis after the disease has already spread to other body parts. Most lung cancer patients have the disease for a long time before it is discovered.
What are the symptoms of lung cancer?
Some people with early lung cancer do experience symptoms, but mostly, symptoms don’t appear until cancer has spread. If you visit the doctor as soon as you experience symptoms, your cancer may be identified earlier, when treatment is more likely to be successful.
Most of these symptoms are typically brought on by conditions other than lung cancer. However, it’s crucial to visit your doctor as soon as possible if you experience any of these issues, so that cause may be identified and addressed.
- A persistent cough that remains can be a sign of lung cancer, but a cough brought on by a cold or respiratory infection will go away in a week or two.
- Lung cancer may also show signs such as difficulty breathing or getting tired quickly. If a lung tumour causes fluid to accumulate in the chest, the breathing pattern may change if the lung tumour clogs or narrows an airway.
- Chest, shoulder, or back pain are possible side effects of lung cancer. This can occur when you cough or all day long. If you experience any kind of chest pain, whether it is acute, dull, continuous, or intermittent, let your doctor know.
- Consult your doctor if you notice a noticeable change in your voice or if someone else notices that it has become deeper, hoarser, or raspier.
- Many cancers, including lung cancer, can cause an unexplained weight loss of at least 10 pounds. This loss of weight may result from cancer cells utilising stored energy when malignancy is present. A shift in how your body uses food-derived energy might be the cause.
What causes lung cancer?
The malignancy known as lung cancer usually develops in the cells lining the lungs’ airways. Both men and women die from it most frequently from cancer rehab care. Anyone can develop lung cancer, but there are several things you can do to increase your chances. Read on.
- Age: As you get older, your body’s cells may have undergone more mutations, which increases your risk of developing cancer compared to younger people.
- Smoking: It harms your lungs’ cells and raises the likelihood that they’ll mutate. Lung cancer is far more likely to develop in smokers. Your risk of lung cancer rises if you are exposed to secondhand smoke in your surroundings if you do not smoke.
- Family history: Some cancer-causing genetic abnormalities can be passed down from parent to kid. You may be more likely to gain lung cancer if you have a family history of the disease.
- Exposure to harmful elements: Significant exposure to substances like asbestos, radon, and some heavy metals can raise your risk of developing lung cancer.
- Lung Diseases: Having a lung illness, such as pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary TB, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, may increase your risk of developing lung cancer (COPD)
Who should be screened for lung cancer?
Lung cancer screening aims to find the disease when it’s very early and when there is a better chance of curing it. The cancer is typically too advanced for curative therapy by the time lung cancer signs and symptoms appear. Lung cancer mortality is decreased with screening:
- Older folks who smoke now or once did. Smokers and former smokers 50 years of age and older are typically eligible for a lung cancer screening
- Those who have been heavy smokers for a long time. If you have smoked for 20 packs or more years in the past, think about getting screened for lung cancer
- Formerly heavy smokers who have given up. You might think about getting screened for lung cancer if you were a long-term heavy smoker who recently quit.
- Those who are healthy. You may be less likely to benefit from lung cancer screening and more likely to encounter complications from follow-up tests if you have major health issues
- Those who have had lung cancer in the past. You might think about getting screened for lung cancer if you had lung cancer treatment over five years ago
- Those with additional lung cancer risk factors. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a family history of lung cancer, and occupational asbestos exposure are among the various risk factors for lung cancer that some people may have.
How is lung cancer treated?
The course of treatment for lung cancer depends on the patient’s preferences, age, cancer type, and extent of the disease. Combinations of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy are available as treatment options. Your doctor will decide the best plan of action for treating your lung cancer after considering the kind of lung cancer, the severity of the disease, your tolerance for specific medications, surgeries, or therapies, expectations for the course of the disease, and your opinion or preference.
Lung cancer may be treated with surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, other drugs, local therapies, including laser therapy, or a combination of therapies, depending on the kind and stage of the disease. Multiple types of treatment are referred to as a combination or multimodality treatment.
The greatest multidisciplinary team is available at Sukino to cure pain and exhaustion, and lessen side effects in lung cancer patients. We want to assist them in quickly regaining full capability. A mix of psychological interventions, psychotherapy, and supportive therapies is used. Our oncology team is equipped with a very effective online patient monitoring system, enabling round-the-clock patient care and handling of emergencies.
Is cancer present in every lung nodule that is found?
No. Most lung nodules, suspicious patches, and masses seen by imaging studies or other diagnostic techniques are benign. A thorough diagnosis is necessary to identify if you have cancer and what therapies are available.
Does lung cancer affect non-smokers?
Yes. The primary risk factor for lung cancer is smoking. But even those who have never smoked or have spent little time around secondhand smoke can develop lung cancer. Exposure to radon, asbestos and other environmental toxins are among the dangers. About 10% of lung cancer patients are nonsmokers, and they are more likely to have mutations that can be treated with targeted medicines.
Which lung cancer stages are there?
In order to evaluate how much cancer has grown and how far it has spread, doctors will stage lung cancer after a patient is given the diagnosis. Various types of lung cancer exist.
- Stage I lung cancer refers to cancer that is contained in the lung area where it first appeared.
- Stage II cancer refers to cancer that has grown and spread to the lymph nodes or other chest structures.
- Stage III refers to the growth and spread of cancer to the chest’s lymph nodes or other structures.
- Stage IV: The point at which the tumour has spread to the liver, bones, or brain, among other parts of the body.
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