Lung cancer is a disease of the lung in which abnormal growth has occurred in the cells lining the lungs. Normally, new cells in the lung only grow when they are needed. When new cells that are not needed begin to grow, they can develop into a tumor and eventually lung cancer.
Types of Lung Cancer
There are three types of lung cancer. The first and most common type of lung cancer is known as Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. NSCLC accounts for about 80-85% of all lung cancers. The second kind of lung cancer is Small Cell Lung Cancer, also called SCLC for short, which makes up another 10-15% of all lung cancers. The third and least common type of lung cancer are called Lung Carcinoid Tumors. These make up only about 5% of all lung cancers, and are also the least invasive of all lung cancers.
Causes of Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer, as it is most commonly caused by smoking tobacco. In fact, about 90% of all cases of lung cancer can be attributed to cigarette smoking. Additionally, second-hand smoke can contribute to lung cancer as well. Other factors that can contribute to the development of lung cancer include exposure to asbestos, radon gas, air pollution, other lung diseases such as COPD, and heredity.
Treatment of Lung Cancer
Treatment of lung cancer depends on the type of cancer and its severity, as well as the overall health of the patient being treated. There are several options for the treatment of lung cancer, but the most common are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Different types of treatment can be used either individually or in combination with other treatments. Again, this depends on the type of lung cancer and its severity.
Surgery for lung cancer involves removing either part of the lung or a whole lung entirely.
Chemotherapy is the use of certain anti-cancer drugs to either kill cancer cells or to stop their growth. Chemotherapy drugs can be administered orally, intravenously, or both.
Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy x-rays aimed to kill the cancer cells. Radiation therapy can be performed externally with the use of a machine, or it can be performed internally. When performed internally, the physician will place pellets containing the radioactive substances directly into the cancerous areas or the nearest airway.
Unfortunately, lung cancer is not easy to treat due to its typical late detection. However, it is also one of the most preventable cancers since it is most commonly caused by smoking.