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Lung cancer is a type of cancer that starts in your lungs. Lung cancer is one of the most common causes of death in both men and women. Lungs are organs in your chest that inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Depending on how much the cancer has spread, it can either be in one or both lungs. There are stages between the different lung cancers which determine how severe the cancer is.
There are several causes that will lead to being diagnosed with lung cancer. Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. “About 80% of lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking, and many others are caused by exposure to secondhand smoke”. Smokers are at a high risk because they are intoxicating their bodies with tobacco. Even non-smokers have a high risk too because of air pollution, and workplaces where there is gas and other chemicals. Also, other causes can be having a family history of lung cancer or even getting treated for other types of cancer. These causes have many symptoms that can occur in the chest or elsewhere in the body. Some symptoms in the chest are shortness of breath, wheezing sounds, coughing up mucus, and even coughing up blood.Symptoms that occur elsewhere in the body are loss of appetite, fatigue, headaches, weakness, bleeding, and blood clots. Not all symptoms of lung cancer will be extreme in the beginning but if anything seems unusual it is safe to go to the doctor.
To diagnose lung cancer there are many tests that can be done.To identify the actual diagnosis lung cells are taken to a lab for a closer look. Imaging tests look at areas the cancer might be located, how far the cancer might have spread, and to determine if the cancer treatment is working.Chest x-rays is used to look for any usual areas in the lungs. A CT scan takes many pictures and combines them to show parts of the body.It is able to show tumors, its size, shape, and where it is located. MRI scans show the soft tissue in the body and is used to look for the spread of cancer that may have led to the brain or spinal cord. PET scans are similar to CT scans but instead it looks to see if the cancer spread to the liver, bones, or other organs. A sputum cytology is when a sample of mucus is used to find cancer that starts in the lungs. During a biopsy a piece of tissue from the lung is looked at to find cancerous cells. There are many different biopsies that can be done. There are some where it can be done while awake and others while under sedation. It all depends on where is suspected tumor is located in the body. Ultrasounds can be used to show lymph nodes and other areas by the lungs. It doesn’t matter where the cancer might be suspected, there are multiple tests to find the diagnosis.
There are two major types of lung cancer which is small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. The first major type is small cell lung cancer which occurs mostly in people who are heavy smokers. Small cell cancer has two stages which are limited stage and extensive stage.In the limited stage cancer is only found on one side of the chest. One part of the lung is involved in this stage.The cancer is able to be more controlled since you can focus on that one area of your chest. In the extensive stage most of the cancer has spread throughout the chest and other parts of the body. This stage is a bit more serious and challenging to deal with. Since the cancer has spread to other parts of the body now doctors need to make sure the spreading can be slowed down.
The second major type is non-small lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common and accounts for about 85% of lung cancers.”Non-small cell lung cancer is an umbrella term for several types of lung cancers that behave in a similar way” It is split up into 3 categories which are adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma. Adenocarcinoma is the most common form and occurs in both men and women. Non-small cell lung cancer has 4 different stages. In stage one the cancer is only in the lungs and has not spread anywhere else.Stage two, the cancer is located in the lungs and is close to the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes filter substances throughout the body to fight diseases. In stage three the cancer is located in the lungs and in your chest where the lymph nodes are. In stage three the cancer has two types. The first type is stage IIIA which is when cancer spread to the lymph nodes where cancer originally started and stage IIIB when cancer spread to the lymph nodes on the opposite sides of where the cancer started. The last stage is stage five which is the most serious stage of lung cancer. Cancer has spread through both lungs and also to other parts of the body as well.