Lungs are located in the chest and when one breathes, air goes through nose to windpipe and into the lungs. Lung cancer is the deadliest type of cancer and more people die of lung cancer as compared to breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. It is generally found in older adults and is rare in people aging fewer than 45. Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells, usually in the cells that line the air passages. It is broadly classified into two main types: non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. Non-cell small lung cancer is the widely spread cancer among the patients and accounts for almost 80% of lung cancers. When the abnormal cells are not developed into healthy tissues, then they divide rapidly and form tumors. The tumors undermine the ability of lungs to provide the bloodstream with oxygen.
The leading cause of lung cancer is cigarette smoking. The more cigarette intake one has per day, the greater is the risk for lung cancer. The number of years from which one has been smoking also raises the risk of suffering from this deadly disease. However, they are also lung cancer patients who have never smoked. Passive smoking or the inhalations of tobacco by non-smokers who share living with smokers are also at high risk of developing lung cancer. Exposure to asbestos fibers is also a leading cause for development of lung cancer. Both lung cancer and mesothelioma are associated with exposure to asbestos. Asbestos workers who smoke have high risk of getting trapped in the cycle of lung cancer.
Some of the commonly associated symptoms and signs of lung cancer include:
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in shoulder, back, chest or arm
- Abnormal decline in health such as weight loss
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing
It is important to be aware of early lung cancer symptoms. One-fourth of patients have no symptoms at the time of diagnosis, it is found incidentally when a chest x-ray or CT scan is done. It is important to consult your doctor if you note any symptoms that are unusual for you.