The abnormal growth of cells that begins in one or both lungs, generally in the cells lining the air passages is known as lung cancer. These abnormal cells do not grow into a healthy lung tissue and as a result of this, they divide for forming tumors. These innumerable and large tumors weaken the lungs and due to this they cannot provide the bloodstream with oxygen.
This cancer can be categorized into three main types- Large Cell Carcinoma : This type got its name from the big rounded cells that can be examined under a microscope. Undifferentiated carcinoma is the other name for this type. Squamous Cell Carcinoma : It is considered as the most common type of lung cancer that grows in the cell lining the airways. Smoking is the leading cause of this type of lung cancer. Adenocarcinoma : This type grows from the cells which produces mucus in the airway lining. Mesothelioma : This is considered as not so common type that may affect the covering of the lung. Mesothelioma lines inside the chest and covers the surface of the lungs. People who are suffering from asbestos develop this type of lung cancer.
In this type of lung cancer, the cancer cells appear to be very small when examined under the microscope. It is also referred to as oat cell cancer. Smoking is considered as the leading cause of this type of lung cancer. It is a fast-developing lung cancer that may spread very quickly.
Carcinoid tumor is considered as a rare type of lung cancer. This is also considered as a type of neuroendocrine cancer. Soft tissue sarcomas are also a rare type of lung cancer.
Extensive Stage: The cancer in this stage has spread to different areas of the chest or different parts of the body.
Diagnosis of Lung Cancer
A number of test are performed for diagnosing lung cancer that include –
The treatments for lung cancer depend on the stage of the cancer, personal characteristics, health status, type of the cancer and age. A number of therapies are provided to a patient as there is no single treatment available for lung cancer. Radiation, surgery and chemotherapy are considered as the major lung cancer treatment.
Here high energy rays are targeted on the lung cancer tumors for destroying them. A damaged is caused to the molecules which are responsible for making cancer cells. High-energy gamma rays are utilized in radiation therapy (also known as radiotherapy) and are emitted from the metals like high-energy x-rays or radium that are produced in a special machine. The major treatment for lung cancer is radiation therapy used for destroying cancer cells that have metastasized or also for destroying the remaining cells left after the surgery.
One of the oldest methods for treating lung cancer is surgery. The surgical removal of the tumor and surrounding lymph nodes is done if there is I or II stage cancer that has not metastasized. Palliative or curative are the two types of lung cancer surgeries. Palliative surgery may not remove cancer but can remove an open airway or obstruction that was making the patient uncomfortable. Curative surgery removes all types of cancerous tissue in those patients who are in early stage lung cancer.
Strong chemicals are used in chemotherapy that interferes with cell division process and damages DNA or proteins. The aim of these treatments is to rapidly divide the cells. The normal cells can be recovered from any chemical-induced damage whereas cancer cells cannot be recovered. The medicines in chemotherapy travel in a systematic way by passing from the complete body and destroying the original tumor cells that have spread in the whole body. Usually many therapies are combined that also includes many types of chemotherapy. Sometimes, chemotherapy is also provided as adjuvant therapy which is designed for reducing cancer recurrence risk and also destroys the existing cells after the surgery. In order to make surgery more successful, chemotherapy can also be given before surgery (known as neo-adjuvant theory) for shrinking the tumors.