There are many types of cancer, but one of the most dangerous type, is lung cancer. Lung cancer claims to take more lives in a year than prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon or ovarian cancer put together. This is due to the fact that the lungs are responsible for all the oxygen exchange in the body, making it one of the most sensitive organs in the body and extremely vital to a person’s well-being and survival. The lungs have a very high capacity for cell growth as well as the capacity to spread malignant cells to other organs of the body at a much faster rate (mainly through the bloodstream) to organs such as the liver, bones, adrenal glands and the brain. Lung cancer is caused due to a disruption in the division of existing cells into healthy new cells and can cause what is termed as metastases of the cells, or a reproduction of cells, that eventually form a mass called a tumor.
An estimated 90% of lung cancers are caused due to smoking, making it the most deadly type of cancer. The risk of lung cancer due to smoking habits is directly proportioned to the amount of cigarettes smoked and to the prolongation of the smoking habit. Lung cancers are also caused by passive smoking, air pollution, asbestos fibers (as seen in many offices, homes and schools) as well as a family history of lung cancer and respiratory diseases.
Most lung cancers can take years to develop and are mostly undetectable until it develops into late-stage carcinoma and are be classified by two types: small cell lung cancers (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC). Small cell lung cancers (SCLC) count for up to 80% of lung cancers as it grows and spreads differently than NSCLC types. That’s because these types differ both in shape and appearance. These malignant growths can be best diagnosed by a routine X-Ray or CT of the chest.
Some of the most common signs of abnormal function of the lungs include shortness of breath, coughing up blood, wheezing and chest pain and difficulty in swallowing. Some non-relating symptoms include bone pain (metastasis-related), weight loss, lethargy, even depression. Fortunately, there are different alternatives for treatment and removal of tumors such as operation, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and adjuvant therapy. Adjuvant therapy is a combination of radiation and chemotherapy performed after surgical removal in order to ensure that any leftover cancerous cells are killed. Targeted therapy may be the last option of treatment after chemotherapy and surgery are unsuccessful. Targeted therapies such as PDT (Photodynamic Therapy) or RFA (Radiofrequency Ablation) are considered to be more modern than other therapies and sometimes even more effective than the standard chemotherapy and radiation treatments.