Lung cancer consists of a malignant tumor developed from the cells of the lung. There are different kinds of lung cancers, such as small cell lung cancer, very aggressive, or adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas among others... This is the fourth most common cancer in terms of frequency in France, but it is the deadliest. The main risk factor behind the development of lung cancer is smoking exposure, particularly over a long period of time.
It is possible for a person with lung cancer to show no symptoms. However, the following symptoms should be a warning: a cough that is gathering momentum and not stopping, coughing up blood, persistent chest pain intensified during coughing, difficulty breathing, weight loss, a greater exposure to recurrent bronchitis, loss of appetite, chronic fatigue, and sometimes headaches.
The diagnosis of lung cancer is often made late because of the fact that its symptoms may be associated with other diseases, or simply the fact that it may be initially asymptomatic. The first review to be carried out in case of a suspicion of lung cancer is a chest X-ray, which can highlight an unusual image in the form of a white area or opacity. Upon the discovery of a suspicious opacity, an endoscopy will be performed by pushing a camera in the airway that can also take a biopsy of the lesion. If the result is negative and yet there is still a doubt, more specific tests such as mediastinoscopy are feasible. If the tumor is confirmed, a staging, i.e. examinations in order to search for metastases due to the invasion of other organs by cancer cells, is required.
Depending on the type of cancer and the results of its staging, different treatments may be considered. Small cell cancers are not accessible by surgery, and chemotherapy is the standard treatment, frequently associated with radiotherapy. In the other type, called "non-small cell" cancer, surgery is possible in localized stages or small extent.
Knowing that in the majority of cases, patients with lung cancer are smokers, the first course of prevention is to quit smoking. Second-hand smoke should also be avoided.
Published by Jeff
Latest update on June 22, 2013 at 05:58 AM by Jeff.