Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both lungs. These abnormal cells do not carry out the functions of normal lung cells and do not develop into healthy lung tissue. As they grow, the abnormal cells can form tumors and interfere with the functioning of the lung, which provides oxygen to the body via the blood.
Lung Cancer Symptoms
Symptoms of lung cancer include cough, coughing up blood or rusty-colored phlegm, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, recurrent respiratory infections, hoarseness, new wheezing, and shortness of breath.
• A new cough in a smoker or a former smoker should raise concern for lung cancer.
• A cough that does not go away or gets worse over time should be evaluated by a health care provider.
• Coughing up blood (hemoptysis) occurs in a significant number of people who have lung cancer. Any amount of coughed-up blood should be evaluated by a health care provider.
• Pain in the chest area is a symptom in about one fourth of people with lung cancer. The pain is dull, aching, and persistent.
• Shortness of breath usually results from a blockage in part of the lung, collection of fluid around the lung (pleural effusion), or the spread of tumor through the lungs.
• Wheezing or hoarseness may signal blockage or inflammation in the lungs that may go along with cancer.
• Repeated respiratory infections, such as bronchitis or pneumonia, can be a sign of lung cancer.
Types of Lung cancer
There are two major types of lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Staging lung cancer is based on whether the cancer is local or has spread from the lungs to the lymph nodes or other organs. Because the lungs are large, tumors can grow in them for a long time before they are found.
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Non-small cell lung cancer accounts for about 85 percent of lung cancers. Among them are these types of tumors:
• Adenocarcinoma is the most common form of lung cancer in the United States among both men and women.
• Squamous cell carcinoma (which is also called epidermoid carcinoma) forms in the lining of the bronchial tubes.
• Large cell carcinomas refer to non-small cell lung cancers that are neither adenocarcinomas nor epidermoid cancers.
1.The cancer is located only in the lungs and has not spread to any lymph nodes.
2. The cancer is in the lung and nearby lymph nodes.
3. Cancer is found in the lung and in the lymph nodes in the middle of the chest.
4. This is when the cancer has spread to both lungs, to fluid in the area around the lungs, or to another part of the body, such as the liver or other organs.
Small Cell Lung Cancer
Small cell lung cancer results from smoking even more so than non-small cell lung cancer, and grows more rapidly and spreads to other parts of the body earlier than non-small cell lung cancer.
- Cancer is found on one side of the chest, involving just one part of the lung and nearby lymph nodes.
- Cancer has spread to other regions of the chest or other parts of the body.
- Surgery is the preferred treatment for many people with lung cancer.
- A variety of chemotherapy medications are used to treat lung cancer.
- Radiation therapy is commonly used to treat lung cancer.
- Several different types of medications are used to treat cancer pain.
Lung cancer and smoking often, but not always go hand in hand. As lung cancer stages advance, lung cancer symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and bloody mucus. Treatment includes surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation.