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Lung Cancer

Lung cancer starts in the organs’ cells, typically the cells lining the air passages. It is one of the most common and deadliest cancers worldwide, often diagnosed at an advanced stage when treatment options may be limited. Lung cancer is strongly associated with tobacco smoking, but can also happen in non-smokers. While there are difference types of lung cancer, it is primarily separated into two categories: non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). 

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC): This comprises of about 85% of all lung cancers, making it the more common of the two classifications. Subcategories include adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.  

Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC): Despite this classification being less common, it is more aggressive and often quickly spread to other parts of the body. 

Risk Factors

Smoking: Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. The risk increases with the duration and intensity of smoking. Secondhand smoke exposure is also a significant risk factor.

Occupational Exposures: Exposure to asbestos, radon gas, certain chemicals (such as arsenic, chromium, and nickel), and other occupational hazards may increase the risk.

Family History: A family history of lung cancer may contribute to an increased risk.

Radiation Exposure: Previous radiation therapy to the chest area can elevate the risk.



During its early stages, lung cancer does not create noticeable symptoms. Common symptoms include persistent coughing, coughing up blood, chest pain, shortness of breath, hoarseness, unexplained weight loss, and recurrent respiratory infections. 



Imaging Tests: Chest X-rays, CT scans, and PET scans are used to visualize the lungs and detect abnormalities. 

Biopsy: A sample of tissue is taken from the lung for examination under a microscope to confirm the presence of cancer and determine its type.



Surgery: For localized tumors, surgical removal of the tumor or the affected lobe of the lung may be an option.

Radiation Therapy: High-energy rays target and destroy cancer cells.

Chemotherapy: Medications that kill or slow the growth of cancer cells, often used in combination with other treatments.

Targeted Therapy and Immunotherapy: Emerging treatments that target specific molecules involved in cancer growth or boost the body's immune system.



The most effective way to prevent lung cancer is to avoid tobacco smoke, including quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke exposure. Minimizing exposure to environmental and occupational carcinogens can also contribute to prevention.

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