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What is Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is a malignant disease in which the cells of the lung tissues become abnormal, characterized by uncontrollable, unlimited growth. As they grow, these abnormal cells can form tumors and interfere with the functioning of the lung. These lung cancer cells can then invade nearby tissue and destroy organ structure.

The Facts about Lung Cancer

  • The main causes of death in cancer cases is lung cancer. Lung cancer contribute to 32% of deaths in men and 25% in women with cancer.
  • From 180.000 of people convicted by lung cancer each year in U.S, 86% will died in 5 years since diagnosed.

In order to understand more about lung cancer, it is important for you to understand the structure of the human lung and how it works.

Lungs is a pair of sponge shaped organ which located in the chest. Right lung has 3 lobes while left lung has 2 lobes, as shown in the picture below.

human lungs

Left lung is smaller than right lung because the heart takes up more space on the side of this body. The lungs bring air in and out of the body. They are taking in oxygen and remove carbon dioxide (respiratory residual substances).

Lining around the lungs called the Pleura, helps protect the lungs and allows them to move during breathing. Windpipe (trachea) brings air into the lungs. The trachea was divided into tubes called Bronchi, which then divided again into smaller branches called Bronchioles. At the end of these small branches are tiny air sacs called Alveoli.

Lung cancer can spread to the pleura. The cancer cells interrupt the pleura and then they make too much fluid that take up the space of the lung. This is called pleural effusion. As a results, you can’t breathe in so well and may feel breathless.

Lung Cancer Causes

In most case, lung cancer is caused by cigarette smoking. Even though some people who have never smoked may still get lung cancer, but statistics proved that about 90% of lung cancer patients were active smokers or former smokers.

These because tobacco contain over 4,000 chemicals, which 50 of them are known as carcinogens (which means cancer causing agents) that cause the actual damage to the cells in the lungs. A cell that is damaged may become cancerous in some period of time.

The risk of developing lung cancer increases with the number of cigarettes smoked especially if the person starts to smoke at a young age. The risk of developing lung cancer may be reduced slightly if you smoke filtered cigarettes, but it still far better for those who are QUIT SMOKING. Lung cancer has always been more common in men, especially those over the age of 40, as more men used to smoke than women.

Other Causes and Risk Factors for Lung Cancer

  1. Exposure to radon gas
    The second most risk factor for lung cancer is exposure to radon gas. Radon is a radioactive gas which occurs naturally in soil in certain areas, that may cause lung cancer if it seeps into your home.
  2. Lung cancer screening
    Screening means testing people for early stages of the disease before they have symptoms. Before screening for any type of cancer. Tests must be reliable in dealing a cancer that was there. And not have to give a false positives result in people who do not have cancer.

    Lung cancer is often picked up on chest X-rays. But when it is diagnosed in this way, often quite advanced. Researches are trying to find another screening test that can help to diagnose lung cancer earlier. They are looking at a scan called CT Scan for people who have a higher risk of lung cancer.

  3. Air pollution
    A study showed that people who live in areas with high levels of nitrogen oxides (generally from cars and other vehicles) have an increased risk of lung cancer by 30%.