Causes And Symptoms Of Lung Cancer

lung cancer
Source: WebMD

Lung cancer causes are as follows.

  • Lung cancer is mostly, 90% of the time, caused due to smoking.
  • Genetic mutations can lead to lung cancer.
  • You can have lung cancer due to radon exposure which is a radioactive gas.
  • Breathing in gases and substances that are dangerous can lead to lung cancer.

The early symptoms of lung cancer are as follows.

  • You have a problem with wheezing.
  • You have a persistent cough that gets worse over time.
  • You feel tired and weak all the time.
  • You cough up blood.
  • You are unable to breathe.
  • You have unexplained weight loss.
  • You have respiratory infections that keep coming back.
  • You have chest pain that gets worse when you laugh, take a deep breath or cough.

When the tumors are present on the top of the lungs then it can affect the nerves on your face. This can lead to perspiration issues on one side of your face, eyelid drooping, and a small pupil. Swelling in your upper chest, face, arms, and neck can be seen if the lung tumors are putting pressure on the large vein. Paraneoplastic syndrome can occur when you have lung cancer. When this happens you will experience symptoms such as coma, vomiting, confusion, weakness in muscles, seizures, nausea, high blood sugar, fluid retention, and high blood pressure.

When lung cancer spreads then the following symptoms are noticeable.

  • If cancer has spread to your liver then your eyes and skin appear yellow which a sign of jaundice is.
  • If cancer has spread to your bones then you can experience pain in your bones, especially in the ribs, back or hips.
  • If cancer has spread to the lymph nodes then you can notice visible lumps in your collarbone or the neck.
  • If cancer has spread to your spine or brain then you will experience numbness in your legs or arms, lightheadedness, issues with balance, and headaches.

Prognosis And Stages

Non-small cell lung cancer has the following stages.

Stage 1

In this stage, the lung cancer is in the lung and hasn’t spread to other areas outside of the lung.

Stage 2

This stage signifies that the lung cancer is in the lung and has affected the lymph nodes that are close by.

Stage 3

In this stage, the cancer is in the lung and it has spread to the chest whereby the lymph nodes are affected.

Stage 3A

This stage means the cancer is already in the lymph nodes but is limited to the area where the cancer growth began initially.

Stage 3B

In this stage, the cancer is in the lymph nodes and has managed to spread to lymph nodes that are found above the collarbone or those on the other side of the chest.

Stage 4

In this stage, cancer has affected both lungs, or it has spread entirely in the area surrounding the lungs, or cancer has spread to other organs.

There are two stages in SCLS or small-cell lung cancer. The first stage is called the limited stage where cancer has either spread to lymph nodes nearby on the same chest side or it is present in only one of the lungs. The second stage is the extensive stage where cancer has spread to the bone marrow, all over one lung, to other organs, to the fluid that surrounds the lung, to the opposite lung, or the lymph nodes on the opposite side.

Treatment Options Available

The faster the diagnosis of lung cancer, the better the chances of recovery and treatment. Many treatment options are available and the one chosen for you will depend on your health, the stage and type of cancer, and which one is the best fit for you. The following are some of the treatment options for lung cancer.

  • You might require lung cancer surgery where your surgeon will work to remove lung cancer. You can have pneumonectomy, wedge resection, lobectomy, or segmental resection. Surgery is recommended for people who have cancer that is contained in the lung. Your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the cancerous cells in the lungs. The various types of surgeries are pneumonectomy, wedge resection, lobectomy, or segmental resection.
  • Chemotherapy can be used after surgery or it can be used for people who are at an advanced lung cancer stage. It helps to get rid of cancer cells by killing them. Chemotherapy medicines can be given so you have to take them orally or can be given intravenously. Chemotherapy is recommended post-surgery or in the advanced stages of lung cancer. Though it is effective in killing cancerous cells, it may have a long-term impact on the neighboring healthy cells. Besides, chemotherapy medicines are available that can be taken orally or through IV, it helps avoid the adverse effects of chemoradiation.
  • Radiation therapy is another method that kills cancer cells. This treatment can be given after surgery or before surgery. Radiation therapy can help lessen symptoms if you have advanced lung cancer. Radiation therapy is one of the most used treatment options for treating lung cancer. It can be provided before or after the surgery and is crucial in keeping the symptoms under control in case of advanced lung cancer.
  • Immunotherapy is another option that your doctor can recommend. It is often advised when lung cancer has advanced. This treatment is used for enabling your immune system to fight the cancer cells.

Immunotherapy is another treatment option that your doctor may recommend when lung cancer is in the advanced stage.

Apart from these, other treatment options include palliative care, targeted drug therapy, and radiosurgery.