Health care

Lung Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment of This Disease

Lung cancer treatment

Lung Cancer has been recognized as the third most common cancer in the United States. When the harmful cells in your lungs grow without a check, lung cancer may occur. Radiation, surgery, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and some targeted drugs are the common treatments for this disease.

Causes of Lung Cancer

Though cell division is a normal process, the cells have a limit on this dividing process. They have an off switch which stops them from dividing after reaching the limit. When the cells have done numerous mutations and have been divided numerous times, the off-switch gets triggered.

Risk Factors for Lung Cancer

Smoking cigars, tobacco products, pipes, and cigarettes can be the risk factors for lung cancer. Most of the deaths from lung cancer are caused due to smoking. The other risk factors are

  • Exposure to harmful substances like silica, uranium, coal products, air pollution, radon, etc.
  • Possessing a family history of Lung Cancer
  • Experienced with radiation treatment to your chest
  • Exposure to second-hand smoking

Types of Lung Cancer

There are two main types of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC).

NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer and accounts for approximately 80-85% of all lung cancers. It is further divided into three subtypes based on the type of cells that are affected: adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.

SCLC, on the other hand, accounts for approximately 10-15% of all lung cancers. This type of cancer tends to grow and spread quickly and is often associated with a history of smoking.

Less common types of lung cancer include carcinoid tumors, which are slow-growing tumors that arise from hormone-producing cells in the lungs, and mesothelioma, a rare cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs and is often caused by exposure to asbestos.

Symptoms of Lung Cancer

The symptoms of lung cancer are like normal diseases which are not very serious. Some patients have symptoms during the early stage and some symptoms are not observed until the cancer has advanced.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain In the Shoulders
  • The cough not going away for a long time and getting worse day by day
  • Swelling of the upper chest, face, arms, and neck
  • Breathing trouble and shortness of breath
  • Weight Loss which is unexplained
  • Unnatural tiredness.

Tests and Diagnosis of Lung Cancer

There are various steps in the diagnosis of lung cancer. Your first visit with the doctor will end up with a physical exam where the lungs and the heart are listened to. The medical practitioner may then suggest blood tests and X-rays. The steps will follow with a CT scan and Biopsy. PET/CT scan is also done to check whether the cancer has spread.

  • Blood Tests- Though blood tests do not determine whether you have cancer or not, they will help you to understand the condition of the organs working in the body.
  • Imaging- CT scans and X-rays provide images that can show the changes within your lungs. They are generally done for determining whether the cancer has spread or not.
  • Biopsy- Tissue samples are taken to study them under the microscope. This test determines the type of cancer.

Treatment of Lung Cancer

The treatment of lung cancer depends on several factors, including the type and stage of the cancer, the patient’s overall health, and their preferences. The main treatment options for lung cancer include:

Surgery: Surgery involves the removal of the cancerous tissue from the lung. This is often the preferred treatment option for early-stage non-small cell lung cancer.

Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. It may be used alone or in combination with other treatments.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. It is often used in combination with radiation therapy or surgery.

Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy uses drugs that target specific molecules or pathways that are involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells. It is often used for advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy uses drugs that help the immune system recognize and attack cancer cells. It is often used for advanced non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer.

Palliative care: Palliative care focuses on improving the quality of life of patients with advanced lung cancer by managing symptoms and providing emotional support.

The choice of treatment depends on the type and stage of the lung cancer, as well as the patient’s overall health and preferences. A multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers, including oncologists, pulmonologists, and thoracic surgeons, will work together to develop an individualized treatment plan for each patient.


Lung cancer is not caused by smoking only. It causes due to high air pollution and exposure to harmful gases for a long time. So when anyone finds the symptoms like coughing for a long period of time that also getting worse, they should get screened as soon as possible. Early detection with early treatments can reduce the suffering a lot.

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