What are the symptoms of lung cancer? With what symptoms can we suspect its existence in different people? How can it be prevented? Smokers are the most important people at risk of this deadly cancer.
Experts believe that lung cancer has no symptoms in the early stages, and patients often see a doctor when the disease is in advanced stages. Maybe that’s why lung cancer is the deadliest cancer in humans. However, being aware of the common symptoms of this disease causes this deadly cancer to be diagnosed at the earliest and most treatable stage possible.
In general, the cells of living organisms divide and grow naturally and in a controlled manner. Cancer occurs when this process gets out of control and cells begin to divide and multiply uncontrollably, creating a mass called cancer.
This tumor or mass, as a primary tumor or primary cancer, can start to grow or spread in its place and cause secondary tumors in other parts of the body. This process is called metastasis, which is a key feature of cancer. Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in men and the third most common cancer in women. On the other hand, due to the difficulty of treating lung cancer, it can be considered the most common type of cancer that leads to death, both in men and women.
* Effective factors in causing lung cancer
According to doctors, smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. It can be said that at least 80% of lung cancers are caused by smoking. Although non-smokers and other smokers are also more likely to develop lung cancer, smokers are generally 10 times more likely to develop the disease. The risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day. If you are a heavy smoker who smokes more than 20 cigarettes a day, you are about 30 to 40 times more likely to develop lung cancer than non-smokers. The main reason for the significant increase in lung cancer in the last 50 years can be considered the increase in smokers in these years. This increase in consumption is due to the industrial production and marketing of tobacco. The risk of lung cancer in people who quit smoking is equal to that of non-smokers after about 15 years. On the other hand, air pollution, which is a concern for many communities today, can also increase the risk of lung cancer and chronic lung disease.
Significant signs of lung cancer
Chronic cough, shortness of breath that gets worse over time, weight loss, extreme tiredness, chronic and persistent pain in the chest or elsewhere in the body that may be due to cancer spreading to the bones are also common symptoms of lung cancer. Primarily in the lung or due to secondary tumors in other parts of the body, other symptoms can occur. One of the prominent symptoms of lung cancer is a bloody cough or hemoptysis. This symptom can be an early warning sign and helps diagnose early-stage lung cancer that may still be treatable. If a person has a bloody cough, especially if he or she is a smoker over the age of 40, he or she should see a doctor immediately for advice on lung cancer.
* Ways to diagnose the disease
Unfortunately, many lung cancers are diagnosed when it is too late to seek effective treatment, experts say. In more than half of people with lung cancer, their cancer is diagnosed when the cancer has metastasized and is spreading. Early detection of lung cancer is difficult because many of the common symptoms of lung cancer are similar to those seen in smokers’ lungs. In addition, many people with lung cancer also have COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at the same time. The main cause of both diseases is smoking. However, only 1 to 2 percent of people with COPD develop lung cancer. Chest X-ray is the first test to diagnose lung cancer. If there is a tumor in the lung, it must be one centimeter or more in diameter so that it can be detected by this imaging. However, at this stage when the tumor has reached this size, the main cancer cell has divided (doubled) 36 times. Lung cancer usually leads to death when the cell division reaches 40. Given these explanations, it is clear that the diagnosis of lung cancer is made at the end of its normal course. If abnormalities are seen on X-rays, CT scans and MRIs are usually done, which can give us more information about the tumors and how much they have spread. Some simple blood tests and a few other tests may be done. Bronchoscopy is a direct examination of the inside of the fallopian tubes performed under local anesthesia with a thin fiber optic. This test is the best way to look for a tumor in the main bronchus or main airways in the center of the chest.
Depending on the location of the cancer, biopsy or biopsy or biopsy needle biopsy may be done. For cancers that are close to the margins of the lungs, for example, if it is closer to the ribs than to the center of the chest, it is best to use a biopsy needle because these areas are beyond the reach of the bronchoscope. They can also be tested for cancer cells, which may no longer require a biopsy.
Lung cancer is classified into three different categories: small cell, squamous cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma, depending on the appearance of the cancer cells that can be seen by pathologists and under a microscope. Small cell cancers respond best to chemotherapy, while other types are better treated with surgery or radiation therapy. Therefore, the pathologist needs a small sample of tissue (biopsy) to test it to both rule out cancer and confirm its accuracy, as well as to identify the type of cancer cell.
* How to treat cancer
Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are used to treat lung cancer. Surgery can cure lung cancer, but only one in five people with lung cancer is eligible for surgery if the lung cancer has not spread beyond the chest. It does not affect vital organs such as the liver. Also, if the patient does not have other diseases such as chronic bronchitis and heart disease, only in these cases, surgery to remove the cancerous tumor may be possible. Chemotherapy is used to treat small cell carcinoma, and in some cases, radiation therapy is used.
Chemotherapy is used either by a specialist in cancer treatment or sometimes by a specialist in chest diseases specializing in chemotherapy. This treatment is done periodically so that the patient will be hospitalized for about 48 hours every three weeks. Mistakes about chemotherapy are common among people who have raised concerns about the problems and benefits of this treatment. However, there is no doubt about the positive effect of chemotherapy on the duration and quality of life of people with small cell lung cancer. Also, the number of treatment courses required depends on the patient’s body response to treatment.