Lung Cancer – Types, Stages, Symptoms & Treatment
Cancer and Lung Cancer
Cancer can be described as a collection of related diseases. It starts when somebody cells start dividing without a stop and therefore spreading to other tissues. Cancer can start at any part of your body. In this article, we will concentrate on lung cancer. Lung cancer is simple cancer which starts in a person’s lungs. In the lungs, the most popular which is also a very popular type of cancer is the non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and makes up to 80% of all cases of lung cancer cases related. 3 In addition, 30% of all cases of lung cancer are reported to start at the outer parts of the lung.
Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) is also responsible for about 15% of the reported cases of lung cancer. It’s good to know that NSCLC spreads at a slower rate when compared to SCLC.
Types of Lung Cancer
There are three main types of lung cancer
- Non-small cell lung cancer
- Small-cell lung cancer
- Mesothelioma – Mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer which is mainly associated with exposure to asbestos. This type of cancer is very aggressive even though it said to be rare. Its main cause is asbestos and its symptoms are chest pain and blood coughing. It can, however, be treated through chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation.
Stages of Lung Cancer
The stages of lung cancer depend on how far it has spread. It’s good to know that the chances of treating cancer are higher when the disease is detected in its early stages.
The NSCLC Has Five Stages Which Are:
- One: In this stage, cancer has been detected in the lungs but has not spread to other parts of the body
- Two: In this stage, cancer has gone past the lung as well as lymph nodes.
- Three: Here cancer is now in the lung, lymph nodes as well as the chest.
- Three A: In this stage, the cancer is found in lymph nodes and in the side of the chest where it started
- Three B: Cancer is found in lymph nodes and the opposite side of the chest
- Four: In this stage, cancer is spread on both sides of lungs as well as all areas around the lungs
The SCLC has two stages:
- Cancer is found on one lung
- The stage where cancer has spread in an extensive manner. In this stage, cancer has spread throughout one lung or to the opposite lug or to the fluids around lungs and even to lymph nodes on opposite sides.
All lung cancer symptoms are basically the same. The early symptoms include:
- Very serious and worsening cough
- Coughing blood
- Chest pains which tend to be more painful when you take a deep breathe
- Fatigue as well as general weakness
- Weight loss and loss of appetite
- Respiratory infections such as pneumonia
In later stages symptoms include
- Yellowing of eyes as well as the skin
- Balance issues and dizziness
- A continuous headache
- Bone pains, ribs pain and hips pain
- Fluid retention
- High blood pressure
Causes of Lung Cancer
Anyone can get lung cancer but most of the cases reported are as a result of smoking. From the moment one starts smoking they start damaging the lung tissues. Lungs fight hard to repair the damaged tissues but with continued smoking, the lungs are overpowered. With the cells damaged they stop operating normally and this creates a route for lung cancer.
Lung cancer can also be caused by the exposure to radon which is a natural radioactive gas. Other substances associated with lung cancer include cadmium, arsenic, uranium and even some petroleum products.
The biggest risk factor associated with lung cancer is smoking. This is because tobacco has many toxic substances and therefore smoking increases the chances of lung cancer. Secondhand smoking can also lead to lung cancer. Many people who never smoke have died because of exposure to secondhand smoking. Exposure to radon also increases the chances of lung cancer. Exposure to asbestos is equally dangerous. Other factors include radiotherapy previous done on your chest area and even family history of lung cancer.
The first thing is physical examination after which the doctor will prepare you tests such as:
- Imaging tests such as MRI, PET scans, X-ray and even CT scans.
- Sputum Cytology – This happens in cases where the patient produces phlegm during coughing and can be used to detect cancer cells.
- Needle – During tests, a need can be inserted through the chest into the lung tissue. This needle is mainly used to test lymph nodes.
- Bronchoscopy – this is a lighted tube that is dropped through the throat all down to the lungs which allow for closer examination
Home remedies cannot be used to cure cancer. This means that home remedies can be used to divert attention or even reduce pain. Some of the home remedies include:
- Hypnosis to help you relax
- Yoga to help you breath better
Foods to Eat When You Have Lung Cancer
During your treatment phase, you require a healthy weight. It’s therefore good to eat foods that will give you the important nutrients required by your body. Some of the foods include:
Low-fat dairy products, protein-rich foods in order to repair your tissues and body cells. In addition, eat whenever you have an appetite and this could mean eating small throughout the day. Some of the foods include eggs, lean meat like chicken, soy foods, beans, and even nuts. You are also required to take a lot of fruits and vegetables.
The preparation of these foods must be done well to avoid all forms of bacteria. In addition, make sure you eat foods rich in fiber. Lastly stay hydrated as much as you can so drink a lot of fluids.
Before starting treatment it’s very important to seek opinions from different doctors. These doctors may include a thoracic surgeon, pulmonologist, a radiation oncologist and a radiation oncologist. Treatment depends on the different stages.
- Stage 1 of the non-small cell lung cancer – In this case, a surgery to remove the affected part is recommended. Chemotherapy can also be done
- Stage 2 – In this stage, if your lung is fully affected you may require surgery to remove all of it. Chemotherapy is also recommended in this stage
- Stage 3 – Here you need a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and even radiation treatment
- Stage 4 – In this stage, it’s very hard to treat. However here you can use a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and even immunotherapy.