Lung cancer is a disease that starts from the lung and has the ability to spread to other parts of the body. The lungs are a pair of an organ located in the chest, which solely helps in respiration. Lung carcinoma is one of the most common types of cancer globally. It’s also one of the most common causes of death in both men and women. As earlier mentioned, this disease occurs when there is an uncontrolled proliferation of cells in the lung tissues. A lot of cancer begins from the lung, also known as primary cancer, before migrating to other regions of the body. There are two types of lung carcinoma, they are small cell lung carcinoma, and non-small cell carcinoma. This disease presents with different types of symptoms. However, the most common ones include coughing, loss of weight, shortness of breath, and chest discomfort. One of the main causes of lung carcinoma is a long history of smoking. Although, about ten to fifteen percent of non-smokers also develop this disease. Lung cancer is caused by both environmental factors and genetic factors. Examples of environmental factors include prolonged exposure to asbestos. This is prominent in factory and building workers. Others include air pollution, inhalation of toxic chemicals and so on. Physicians diagnose this disease by taking the history and complaints of the patient. They also carry out different types of test and evaluation to confirm the diagnosis. Some of these tests include imaging tests such as Computer tomography scans, bronchoscopy and so on. In addition to this, there are some factors that could increase the risk of developing the disease. They include smoking, air pollution and so on. Avoiding smoking significantly reduces the risk of developing the disease. Stem cells are also used for the treatment of this disease. Adult stem cells have the ability to repair, and replace abnormal cells and tissues in the body. Researchers are working on ways to use this knowledge to effectively treat lung cancer
What Are The Early Signs Of Lung Carcinoma?
Lung carcinoma might not present with any symptoms in the early stages of the disease. This is why the disease remains undiagnosed until it gets to the advanced stage. Below are some of the early symptoms you might notice in a patient affected by lung carcinoma;
- A persistent cough: Persons affected by lung carcinoma tend to have a cough that persists for a long time. Typically, cough caused by common cold, or infection do last between one to weeks and then resolve. However, a cough that occurs as a result of lung carcinoma is usually stubborn. In addition, it’s always dry and non-productive. Physicians would evaluate the respiratory system of the patient for any strange developments.
- Chest discomfort: Lung cancer does cause chest discomfort in the shoulder, chest and in the back. The pain might also be associated with coughing. You should inform your physician should you notice this occurrence. Chest discomfort associated with lung cancer usually occurs as a result of inflamed lymph nodes, or metastasis to the wall of the chest.
- Loss of weight: These symptoms are common to all types of cancer. Patients affected by cancer, tend to lose between 5kg and above. This occurs as a result of the heightened metabolism of the patient. The cancer cells proliferate without control, thereby consuming the patient’s energy and resources.
- Difficulty in breathing: Patients affected by lung carcinoma tend to have trouble breathing. This occurs as a result of the blockage of the respiratory airway by a lung tumor. You should consult your physician if you notice that you have some difficulty breathing after performing some exercise you used to do easily.
- A headache: This is one of the earliest sign of lung cancer. In most cases, it’s a sign that a tumor has spread to the brain. Although, it doesn’t always mean that a tumor has metastasized. The pressure might also put some pressure on the superior vena cava, which can lead to symptoms such as headaches, migraines and so on.
- Bone pain: This occurs when cancer has metastasized to the bones. This could be the bones of the hip joints, and other parts of the body. It’s usually more intense at night, and also worsens with movement. You should inform your physician if you notice these symptoms.
What Are The Risk Factors Of Having Lung Cancer?
There are some factors that increase the risk of having lung cancer. Some of these factors are;
- Smoking: Smoking cigarette is the most leading cause and predominant risk factor of lung cancer. Smoking increases the likelihood of having this disease by multiple folds. It has been observed that 90% of those affected by this disease are smokers.
- Heredity: It has been noticed that those who have relatives that are affected by lung cancer have a high chance of also developing lung carcinoma. The closer the connection, the more the risk. For example, parents to children.
- Secondary smoking: Inhaling cigarette smokes or being exposed to smoke for a long time increases the risk of having the disease.
How Is Lung Cancer Currently Treated?
The physician would decide what kind of treatment is appropriate for the patient. However, this depends on the severity and stage of cancer. There are cases where a patient would rather not undergo treatment, because of the pain and possibility of recovery associated. Some of the popular treatment methods are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. The oncology surgeon would directly remove a tumor, and wherever it might have spread to. In addition, high-powered radiations are also used to kill the tumour cells.
Stem Cell Therapy And Lung Cancer
There is a lot of potential in the stem cell therapy for lung carcinoma. Usually, adult stem cells have the ability to repair, and replace abnormal cells and tissues in the body. Researchers are working on ways to use this knowledge to treat lung cancer effectively.
Lung cancer. (1995). Lung Cancer, 12(3), 326-327. doi: 10.1016/0169-5002(95)99040-o
Lung Cancer. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/types/lungGet More Stem Cell Information at iSTEMCELL