Lung Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Lung Cancer also known as lung carcinoma, lung cancer is among the most prevalent and severe types of cancer. It occurs when there’s a malignant tumor in the lung tissues that grows and spreads very fast if uncontrolled. Most lung cancer victims fail to get early treatment as the condition doesn’t have any symptoms during its early stage.

Statistics show that 1 of every 4 cancer related deaths is caused by lung cancer. Even though it is considered a fatal condition, there’s a chance for survival if it is diagnosed early and treatment is started immediately.

Types of Lung Cancer
There are two known types of lung cancer; Small-Cell Lung Carcinoma (SCLC) and Non-Small-Cell Lung Carcinoma (NSCLC). The categorization is based on where the cancer starts.

Causes
Research shows that 85% of lung cancer cases is caused by long term tobacco use. On the other hand, 10-15% of cases are caused by other factors like genetic factors, exposure to radon gas, passive smoking and asbestos.

Symptoms
Like earlier stated, lung cancer can be very hard to diagnose at its early stages because symptoms rarely exhibit themselves. However, once it starts to advance to later stages, victims start experiencing symptoms including:-

(i) Respiratory problems like recurrent dry coughs, wheezing, breath shortness, pneumonia and bloody mucous and coughs
(ii) Weight loss
(iii) Body weakness
(iv) Persistent fevers
(v) Chest pains
(vi) Appetite loss

Diagnosis
Lung cancer can be diagnosed through several ways depending on the cancer’s advancement. First, lung cancer can be diagnosed through chest radiography. This method is ideal when diagnosing lung cancer at its early stages. Once lung cancer has been diagnosed, CT imaging can be used to ascertain the extent of the cancer. Further diagnosis to sample the tumor’s histopathology may involve bronchoscopy and CT guided biopsies.
However, it is important to note that CT imaging should not be used frequently as it exposes patients to too much radiation.

Treatment
After diagnosis, immediate treatment is recommended. There are several treatment options for those affected by lung cancer. Treating cancer can involve surgery, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy and also radiation therapy. The most ideal treatment method is determined by the oncologist depending on the cancer’s satage.

Prevention
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure and lung cancer is no exception. To be on the safer side, it is important to avoid exposing yourself to conditions that can lead to lung cancer. If you are a smoker, quit before it’s too late. Also, avoid spending too much in air-polluted areas. Some studies also suggest that supplemental vitamins like Vitamin A, C, D & E may reduce the chance of getting lung cancer.

Conclusion
Lung cancer is a serious condition that can lead to death especially if not treated or managed properly. Even though survival chances may be slim once it advances to later stages, it can be managed especially if detected early. The condition is majorly caused by tobacco usage so it can be easily prevented by avoiding tobacco usage. Unfortunately, lung cancer is continuing to be a menace due to lack of information about its symptoms and causes. With better awareness though, it can be mitigated.