Lung cancer occurs when the cells in the lungs begin to develop abnormally. Most lung cancers are carcinomas, and grow from the epithelial cells. Lung cancer is a highly aggressive form of cancer, and it is extremely common for it to extend beyond the lungs and then to metastasise into other areas of the body. The symptoms of lung cancer often include difficulty breathing; coughing, including coughing up blood; and weight loss, and a formal diagnosis can be made using CT scans and X-rays.
In the main, there are two different types of lung cancer. These are small cell lung carcinoma, which tends to be treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and non-small cell lung carcinoma, which can sometimes be treated with surgery. Some other treatment types, such as targeted therapy, may also be used. Generally, however, the overall treatment will vary depending on the specific type of lung cancer involved, the aggressiveness of the cancer, the spread of the cancer, and the current health of the cancer patient.
One of the major risk factors of lung cancer is smoking, with long-term exposure to tobacco smoke one of the greatest risks of developing lung cancer. However, non-smokers can also develop lung cancer, and account for roughly fifteen percent of lung cancer sufferers. Even though these individuals are non-smokers, their exposure to second-hand smoke, such as from other smokers, as well as air pollution and other airborne factors such as asbestos can significantly influence their likelihood of developing lung cancer. Genetics may also play a part in developing lung cancer.
Of all cancers, lung cancer is the most common to result in death among both men and women, with less then fifteen per cent of lung cancer sufferers surviving the critical five year stage. The prognosis of a lung cancer patient is largely linked with their type of lung cancer, the degree of its spread, whether it has metastasised, whether it has spread into their lung tissue and blood, and the general health of the individual.
Given the importance of the cancer patient’s overall health in the treatment of lung cancer, as well as to their survival, remaining in optimum health is essential for lung cancer patients. Taking pains to boost the immune system through alternative treatments and processes may be efficacious for some patients battling lung cancer, for those who are in remission from lung cancer, and for those who have beaten lung cancer and wish to improve their chances of remaining lung cancer free. More information about these therapies can be found elsewhere on this site.