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Lung cancer stands as one of the most prevalent types of cancer globally, contributing significantly to cancer-related fatalities. It originates in the lungs and is the most common cancer with respect to incidence and mortality worldwide. GLOBOCAN reported 2,206,771 new cases and 1,796,144 deaths in 2020. While being the most common cancer among men, it ranks as the third most common cancer in women in India. Here, it is the fourth most common cancer, with 72,510 cases and 66,279 deaths in 2020. In India, lung cancer comprises 6.9% of new cancer cases and 9.3% of cancer-related deaths in both genders each year. Mizoram reported the highest incidences among both males and females.
The trends in lung cancer demonstrate a noteworthy increase in Delhi, Chennai, and Bengaluru for both sexes. Incidence and patterns vary geographically and ethnically, closely mirroring smoking prevalence and patterns. Approximately 50% of cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage, underscoring the importance of early detection through awareness of warning signs. However, early signs may not always be evident, and symptoms often manifest in advanced stages. Adhering to the proverb "prevention is better than cure," it is crucial to manage preventable risk factors like active and passive smoking and occupational exposure to carcinogens such as asbestos. Therefore, Medflick brings you some deep details and facts you must know about lung cancer.
Cancer is a condition characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells in the body. When this abnormal cell growth originates in the lungs, it is identified as lung cancer. Initiating in the lungs, lung cancer has the potential to extend to lymph nodes or other organs, including the brain. Conversely, cancer originating in other organs may also metastasize (spread) to the lungs. While lung cancer can be life-threatening, advancements in diagnosis and treatments are enhancing the overall prognosis.
There exist two primary categories of lung cancer.
1. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC): NSCLC accounts for approximately 80% to 85% of lung cancer cases. Its main subtypes include adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma. Despite originating from different lung cell types, they are collectively classified as NSCLC due to similarities in treatment and prognosis.
2. Small cell lung cancer (SCLC): Comprising 10% to 15% of all lung cancers, SCLC is sometimes referred to as oat cell cancer. SCLC tends to grow and spread more rapidly than NSCLC, often extending beyond the lungs upon diagnosis. While this fast growth makes it responsive to chemotherapy and radiation therapy, the cancer commonly recurs in most individuals at some point.
Following are lung cancer stages:
Although small cell lung cancer is now categorized using stages I through IV, it may also be referred to as a limited or extensive stage based on the treatability with a single radiation field.
Metastatic lung cancer originates in one lung but extends to the other lung or other organs. Treating metastatic lung cancer is more challenging compared to cancer that remains confined to its initial site.
Lung cancer arises from cells that continue to divide abnormally, bypassing the built-in mechanisms for halting division (senescence) or inducing cell death (apoptosis). While all cells undergo normal division, the off switch is activated when a cell has undergone excessive divisions or accumulated too many mutations. Cancer cells, having lost this off switch due to mutations, multiply uncontrollably, disrupting the normal functioning of surrounding cells. These cancerous cells can enter the bloodstream or lymph nodes, spreading to different areas of the body and causing widespread damage.
The exact factors triggering these changes leading to cancer remain uncertain, but certain elements, such as smoking tobacco products, pose a higher risk of cellular damage that may lead to lung cancer. Smoking any form of tobacco, including cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, stands as the predominant risk factor, contributing to an estimated 80% of lung cancer deaths. Additional risk factors encompass exposure to secondhand smoke, contact with harmful substances like air pollution, radon, asbestos, uranium, diesel exhaust, silica, and coal products, as well as a history of radiation treatments to the chest and a family history of lung cancer.
Most lung cancer symptoms resembles to symptoms of certain less serious illnesses. Many patients don’t get symptoms until the disease reaches the advanced stage. However, some people get early stage symptoms also and that are:
Lung cancer diagnosis is a multi-step process. Your healthcare provider will proceed with following:
Lung cancer can be addressed through various treatments, encompassing surgery, radiofrequency ablation, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy, and immunotherapy.
As the definitive causes of most cancers remain uncertain, preventive efforts are centered on minimizing associated risks. Strategies to reduce the risk include:
Approximate Cost ($)
$USD 1300 - 39,300
Following are some of the best hospitals around world for lung cancer treatment:
Q1: Will lung cancer be cured?
A: Lung cancer is generally curable if diagnosed when its contained within the lung only. Lung cancer which spreads beyond the lung is generally not considered curable.
Q2: What are the 1st signs of lung cancer?
A: Chest pain, persistent cough, blood in cough, breathing difficulties, voice hoarseness, loss of appetite, unintended weight loss, and fatigue are the 1st signs of lung cancer.
Q3: Can you live 20 years with lung cancer?
A: Individuals identified with early-stage lung cancer through CT screening exhibit an 80 percent survival rate over a span of 20 years. In contrast, the average five-year survival rate for all lung cancer patients stands at 18.6 percent, primarily due to the fact that merely 16 percent of lung cancer cases are diagnosed in the early stages.
Q4: At what age lung cancer occurs?
A: According to the American Cancer Society, the majority of individuals diagnosed with lung cancer are aged 65 and above.
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