Lung cancer:No laughing matter!

Lung cancerWhile you are happily puffing off your 10th cigarette of the day, sometimes you cough other times you have a weird taste in your mouth. Many people around you suffer from the smoke produced by your cigarette, so in order to prevent any public scene you decide to puff your cigarette in private places. Your addiction to nicotine keeps on increasing day by day and so does your number of cigarettes per day. Even though you are fully aware that the men are vulnerable to attain lung cancer due to excessive smoking still you can’t bring yourself to terms to take the step of smoking cessation. Smoking is the most common cause (80-90%) of the cases of lung cancer.

Lung cancer is defined as the uncontrolled growth of lung tissue cells which is both malignant and benign in nature. Air pollution, genetics and occupational i.e. asbestos exposure are other causes of lung cancer other than smoking. The signs and symptoms start to manifest with respiratory symptoms which include cough, bloody sputum and shortness of breath; systemic features include fever, weight loss, and fatigue. Depending upon the distant metastases (moving away from the primary site of lesion) can show other symptoms of chest pain, bone pains etc.

There is gene mutation at the genes level which cause the transition of normal lung tissue to abnormal cells. The diagnosis of the condition is done by doing first the general physical examination and collecting a proper past medical history. The diagnostic tests used are X-ray chest, CT scan, biopsy of the affected part which is sent for histopathological assessment. After the results of the histopathological assessment are declared, only then it can be confirmed that the person suffers from lung cancer. The chances of developing lung cancer are increased in older age group and male gender. Staging is done to detect the involvement of other organs all over the body. It determines how much the disease has progressed.

Treatment depends upon the histopathological type of lung cancer and the stage of the disease. According to the above criteria, the treatment option between doing surgical resection of the affected part, using radiotherapy or chemotherapy is made. Palliative care (supportive care) is given to those cases in which the disease has progressed and it can’t be treated by either of the above mentioned treatment commodities. After successful treatment, the life expectancy may be increased up to 5 years. The patient is himself who can ensure a better out of the treatment once it is started. He is to remain positive towards life and practice complete compliance to the treatment prescribed to him.

Smoking cessation is most important step in the prevention of development of lung cancer. It is better if a person observe a healthy life style by reducing weight, doing physical activities and avoiding stress which is the basic stimulus to start smoking in younger age groups. Screening can be done of the susceptible known cases with family history of lung cancer. Avoidance of secondary smoke is also crucial in the natural history of lung cancer development.


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