In short, lung cancer is an abnormal growth of cells in the lungs. Lung cancer may eventually spread to other parts of the body if not discovered and treated early.
Smoking is the single greatest avoidable risk factor for cancer. It is responsible for one in four of all deaths from cancer in the UK. Smoking causes around 90% of lung cancers.
There are benefits from quitting, once you stop smoking, your risk of lung cancer starts to go down. 10 years after you've given up, your lung cancer risk is about half that of a smoker.
The most significant cause of lung cancer is cigarette smoke (National Cancer Institute). Roughly 85 percent of lung cancers are diagnosed in former or current smokers; other cases may be caused by environmental exposure to materials like radon, asbestos or uranium, or secondhand smoke. Genetics can also play a role.
Lung cancer takes years to develop. The risk increases with each year of smoking, and with each cigarette smoked per day. Stopping smoking will reduce the risk of cancer developing. Smoking also increases the risk of other diseases, such as chronic lung disease, heart disease, stroke and other cancers such as head and neck cancers. Stopping smoking will reduce the risk of lung cancer developing as well as reduce the likelihood of developing heart and lung problems. Smoking can also harm your spouse and family members
Yes, non-smokers can get lung cancer, but the risk is much lower than in smokers. There are factors other than smoking that increase a person's risk of getting lung cancer. Breathing in other people's smoke, exposure to radon, asbestos, air pollution, certain chemicals in the workplace, and a personal or family history of lung cancer are also risk factors for lung cancer.
Second-hand smoke contains twice as much tar and nicotine per unit volume than the smoke inhaled directly from a cigarette. More significantly, second-hand smoke contains three times more cancer-causing compounds and 30 times more carbon monoxide than firsthand smoke. Second-hand smoke is responsible for thousands of cases of lung cancer and asthma each year.
Because lung cancer has no symptoms in its early stages, more than 85 percent of the men and women who are diagnosed with lung cancer today are diagnosed in a late stage, after symptoms have occurred and when there is very little chance of cure. As a result, approximately 95 percent of the more than 221, 000 people diagnosed each year die from the disease.
This is a tricky one because sometimes there aren't any symptoms of lung cancer. One in four people don’t even have symptoms when their lung cancer is advanced. In other people, symptoms that may suggest lung cancer can include:
There are a number of tests that can be used to detect lung cancer. However, most tests miss many early cancers, and are often ordered only after the patient has started having symptoms. Traditional lung cancer tests include chest x-ray, sputum cytology (analyzing cells in mucus), and bronchoscopy (using a tube through the mouth to look at the lungs with a tiny camera).
To confirm that a person has lung cancer, the doctor must examine fluid or tissue from the lung. This is done through a biopsy -- the removal of a small sample of fluid or tissue for examination under a microscope by a pathologist. A biopsy can show whether a person has cancer. A number of procedures may be used to obtain this tissue.
Almost 60-70% of patients have advanced of lung cancer. Further tests of the biopsy specimen to subtype the cancer further may help determine whether chemotherapy or targeted therapy will be more suitable. The goal of treatment in such cases is to improve quality of life and/or reduce symptoms and also prolong the survival. Currently, such patients live longer and also well.
Depending on the extent of the cancer, the surgeon may decide to remove part or all of the lung. Taking out a part of the lobe of a lung is called a segmental or wedge resection. If a lobectomy is performed, an entire lobe of the lung is removed. This is usually the preferred surgery for lung cancer if it can be done. A pneumonectomy is the removal of an entire lung. A sleeve resection removes only the part of the bronchus with cancer. The lung is then reattached to the remaining part of the bronchus. Although these surgeries are done by open thoracotomy, video assisted thoracoscopic surgeries (VATS) at performed at our centre through keyholes.
Space left after surgery becomes filled up with body fluid and scar tissue and the other lung usually expands. Until this happens, there may be a feeling of emptiness on the side of the operation.
Most likely, depending on your lung function before the surgery. The removal of 1 or 2 lobes may limit hard physical exercise. Otherwise you should be able to breathe and live normally. If you have an entire lung removed, you may become short of breath when you exert yourself, but at rest you will breathe normally. Breathing exercises will help you adjust to this.
The most common side effects of chemotherapy include nausea and vomitting , however, medications known as antiemetics are available to help control these side effects. Other common side effects include mouth sores, fatigue, anemia, dizziness, infection, pain, hair loss, and loss of appetite.
Yes, temporary side effects like nausea, vomitting, hair loss, and fatigue usually go away following the completion of treatment.
Some people benefit from keeping to a regular work schedule with flexibility if they don't feel well. Some schedule chemotherapy for Fridays so that they have time over the weekend to recover. Others may want to take medical leave from work. Talk to your oncologist.