Pulmonary cancer is a type of cancer that affects the lungs. The lungs are the spongy organs in the chest or thoracic cavity that takes in oxygen when we inhale and gives out carbon dioxide when we exhale. This disease is the most common cause of death in all cancer cases, especially in the United States of America. Pulmonary causes more death than the combination of breast, ovarian, prostate and colon cancer put together. This tumor is characterized by an uncontrolled or regulated cell growth. The cells just keep proliferating, even more rapidly than the healthy cells. Pulmonary cancer is associated with metastasis. It has the ability to spread from its original site to other parts of the body. Pulmonary cancer can be divided into two types. These are small-cell lung carcinoma and non-small-cell lung carcinoma. The most common signs and symptoms of lung cancer include hemoptysis, also known as the coughing up of blood, loss of weight, dyspnea, and chest pains. The most prevalent cause of this disease is smoking. According to statistics, up to 90% of lung cancer cases are due to smoking. However, there are other causes of lung cancer, and these are usually a combination of genetics and environmental factors. Some of the environmental factors include air pollution, chemicals such as radon gas, asbestos, second-hand smoke and so on. Physicians make a diagnosis based on the presenting signs and symptoms of the patient, which is then confirmed with several other tests, such as imaging tests, radiographs, bronchoscopy, and Computed Tomography. Protecting yourself from these risk factors reduces the chance of getting affected by this disease. This disease is treated with different types of procedures. The treatment method that your doctor also depends on a number of factors. Some of the factors include the stage of the tumor, the type of cancer, and the general health status of the patient. There are no stem cell suppliers for doctors yet, however, researchers are working on targeting and isolating cancer stem cells, to develop new and more effective medications.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Pulmonary Cancer?
People affected by pulmonary cancer usually presents with a lot of signs and symptoms. However, the complaints vary, depending on the stage of cancer, and type of cancer they have. Below are some of the common signs and symptoms of pulmonary cancer;
- Pulmonary symptoms: This is the most common complaints of lung cancer. Some of the signs and symptoms include hemoptysis, coughing, dyspnea, and shortness of breath.
- Chest pain
- Hoarseness of the voice
- Weight loss
- Pain: This generally occurs in the bones, and also in the chest.
- Superior vena cava syndrome.
- Problems with the swallowing of food.
- Paraneoplastic phenomenon: This is a condition in which non-endocrine organs and tissues start secreting hormones. This would usually cause patients to experience problems like hypercalcemia,
What Are The Cause Of Pulmonary Cancer?
Cancer is a disease that occurs as a result of a combination of genetic factors and other environmental factors. DNA mutation has been linked to the development of this disease, coupled with other factors such as smoking, chemicals and so on.
- Smoking: As earlier said, smoking is responsible for the majority of all cancer cases. According to statistics, up to about 90% of all cancer cases can be attributed to smoking. For example, a cigarette contains about 64 carcinogens. Smoking regularly, or constantly exposing yourself to smoke increases the risk of developing lung cancer. In addition, smoking other things such as marijuana poses almost the same risk as smoking cigarettes. Although, the effects of marijuana on the lungs is not exactly known yet.
- Asbestos: Asbestos is capable of causing a lot of pulmonary diseases, including lung cancer. It often works in combination with other factors, such as smoking. Asbestosis is mainly connected with mesothelioma, which is the cancer of the pleura of the lungs.
- Air pollution: Exposing yourself to air pollution, such as fumes from burning materials, of the smokes from industrial plants could cause the development of pulmonary cancer. This is why lung cancer is more prominent in the cities than in the rural areas. This is because there are more cars and industries in the cities, so people tend to inhale a lot of toxic substances that have been released into the air. An example of a country that experiences a lot of air pollution in China, Japan, and other countries that rely heavily on industries that release fumes and pollutants into the air.
- Radon gas: This gas doesn’t have any color or smell. It’s formed as a result of the breakdown of radioactive radium. This gas is capable of causing mutations in the DNA, that could lead to the development and growth of tumor According to statistics, radon is the second most common cause of pulmonary cancer in the United States of America.
- Genetics: This is responsible for about 8% of all cases of lung cancer. People who have relatives that have lung cancer, or died from lung cancer, usually have a higher chance of developing lung cancer.
How Is Pulmonary Cancer Currently Treated?
There are different approaches to the treatment of pulmonary cancer. However, the method that would be used would be determined by the doctor based on the stage of cancer, size, and the overall health of the patient. The treatment methods used include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, radiosurgery, targeted therapy, and palliative care.
- Surgery: the surgeon would remove the affected part and some parts of the healthy tissues. In addition, doctors also remove part of the lymph nodes in the chest to evaluate them for any development of a tumour
- Radiation: In this method, high dose radiations are used to eliminate the cancer cells. This might be used before or after surgery. It’s mostly combined with chemotherapy, especially when surgery isn’t an option.
- Chemotherapy: This is the treatment procedure when drugs are used for the elimination of cancer cells. They are usually passed through the veins, and can also be taken orally. Mostly used after surgery, to kill off the cancer cells that might have escaped surgery.
Stem Cell Therapy And Pulmonary Cancer
Researchers are currently on ways to identify and eliminate the cancer stem cells of pulmonary cancer, which are responsible for the uncontrolled growth of the tumour cells. This would lead to the development of cancer drugs that could treat the disease effectively.
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