Lung Cancer Types – Your Information About This Killer Disease

It is important knowing the types of lung cancers for treating them. The two major types of lung cancers are small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The SCLC type spreads to other parts of the body very fast and is mainly treated with chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is also combined with surgery or radiation therapy for treatment of SCLC. To determine the type of cancer a person has samples are taken out of the tumor, surgically. Sometimes lymph nodes are also removed to ascertain the presence of cancer in them. Treatment is started once the type of cancer is determined.Chemotherapy is used to stop the growth and the spread of lung cancer beyond the lungs and the existing tumors in other parts of the body are treated with radiation therapy.A radiation oncologist may suggest you to have radiation therapy to the brain to prevent the cancer from being spread to this part of the body even if cancer is not present in the brain. This type of radiation treatment of the brain is called prophylactic cranial irradiation. Since radiation may affect the function of the brain if it is exposed to radiation, proper consultation is essential with the doctor and the patient. In an attempt to remove a cancerous growth in the spine and bones may not succeed, it may bring comfort to the patient by relieving some of the symptoms of cancer.The slow growing non-small cell lung cancer spreads very slowly to the other parts of the body. Early stages of diagnosis of NSCLC cancer can be treated with surgery. Radiation or chemotherapy can be used to slow down the growth of the cancerous cells and also to relieve the symptoms of cancer apart from surgery. Radiation therapy of treating NSCLC can be performed in a patient that cannot undergo surgery due to a medical condition. If the lung cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or nearby tissues of the lymph nodes then radiation therapy is the best way to treat non-small cell lung cancer. Pain due to tumors can be reduced if radiation therapy is given to the patient. Radiotherapy helps the patient breathe easily by opening the airways. It is important to diagnose the type of cancer present and the areas that are affected by the cancer. The first step will be to stop the growth of cancer cells and then to treat them with an appropriate therapy.Statistics reveal that about 20% of lung cancers are SCLC and 80% are NSCLC. Oat cell carcinoma is another name for SCLC. Based on the kind of cells making the NSCLC type, the categories are adenocarcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, and large cell carcinomas. Adenocarcinomas are found in smokers as well as non-smokers. The squamous carcinomas are found in the central chest area. And the least common type is the large cell carcinomas which are undifferentiated carcinomas.Cancers of the lung can also occur as a result of spreading of the cancer from other parts to the lungs, where the cancerous growths are found scattered in the lungs and most often on the peripheral lungs. Bronchial carcinoids and cancers that affect the supporting tissues of the lungs and blood vessels are other types of lung cancer.

Determining Your Risk for Developing Lung Cancer

A risk factor is anything that affects a person’s chance of developing a disease, like cancer. Lung cancer has very specific risk factors, many of which can be lowered by making some changes to your lifestyle. While having one or more risk factors does not guarantee that you will develop lung cancer, knowing that you are at risk may encourage you to make some very important changes.Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both lungs. As these abnormal cells grow, they can form tumors that prevent the lung from functioning properly. There are two types of lung cancer, non-small cell and small cell lung cancer. The majority of diagnosed cancers are categorized as non-small cell, which generally grows and spreads more slowly as compared to small cell lung cancer.According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the second most common cancer. Only prostate and breast cancer occur more often. Because of the prevalence of this disease, it is important to understand the behaviors you can alter to lower your risk.Smoking is by far the leading risk factor for developing this type of cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that 87 percent of lung cancer deaths are thought to be the result of smoking. Studies have shown that the longer you smoke and the more you smoke, the greater your chance of receiving a diagnosis. Cigarette, pipe, and cigar smoking all contribute equally to an increased risk of cancer.The good news is that quitting smoking before cancer develops allows your damaged lung tissue to gradually repair itself. No matter how many years you have been a smoker, quitting, especially before the age of 50, can drastically reduce your risk of dying from lung cancer within the next 15 years.Unfortunately, living with or spending time with a smoker can put you at risk as well. Exposure to secondhand smoke can be detrimental to your health. Employees who are exposed to smoke in their workplace also have a higher risk of developing this disease than those who work in a smoke-free environment.The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that radon exposure is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that cannot be seen, tasted, or smelled. When it is breathed in, it exposes the lungs to small amounts of radiation, possibly increasing a person’s risk of developing cancer. If you are concerned about the radon levels in your home, you can use a radon detection kit to determine if there is a problem.Your family history can play a role in determining your susceptibility to cancer. People who have a parent or sibling who has been diagnosed may have an elevated risk of developing this disease. Research is ongoing to determine the role that genetics play.Those workers who have been exposed to asbestos and other substances known to cause cancer, such as arsenic, chromium, nickel and tar, are at a high risk of developing this type of cancer, especially if they are smokers.People who tend to drink more than a moderate amount alcohol are at risk for lung cancer as well. You should limit yourself to no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks for men. Studies to determine what kinds of foods may lower your risk of developing this disease are ongoing.The best advice is to avoid those behaviors that put you at a high risk for lung cancer. If you are a smoker, there are a variety of resources available to help you stop. Visit your physician should you have any concerns.