Lung Cancer

Topics: Cancer, Lung cancer, Oncology Pages: 6 (2090 words) Published: December 9, 2012
Lung Cancer
The deadliest kind of cancer is lung cancer. People suffer each year from its devastating and lasting effects. It is the foremost cause of cancer death and is the second most common type of cancer. Men and women both have lung cancer. It affects over 200,000 people every year in the United States. 116,900 men and 103,350 women were diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009 according to the American Cancer Society. Also, 159,390 people have died from lung cancer in this year. African American men have the highest occurrence of lung cancer and the lowest survival rate (Science Daily). I will be explaining what lung cancer is, the types, risk factors, symptoms, diagnoses, and treatments. Lung cancer is uncontrolled abnormal cell growth in the lungs. The abnormal cells do not carry out the normal functions of a healthy cell. As they grow, tumors can grow which can further obstruct the function of the lungs. Many different cells make up the lungs. The majority of the cells are epithelial cells which line the airways and produce mucus, which lubricates and protects the lung (ASCO Cancer Foundation). Without these cells properly functioning, the lungs are not able to provide the needed oxygen. Lungs are a vital organ in the human body. They take in oxygen in the air and supply it to the body by the use of the bloodstream (Cancer Care).

Small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are the two types of lung cancer. The more common of the two is NSCLC, which is derived from the epithelial cells. Only 15% of lung cancer cases are of small cell lung cancer (Medline Plus). Small cell lung cancer comes from nerve cells and gets its name from its shape and size under a microscope. The difference between small cell lung cancer and NSCLC is highly important because it determines the type of treatment (Cancer Care). Those with small cell lung cancer are higher at risk to develop lung cancer again. Small lung cancer spreads faster than NSCLC and is rare to have in a non-smoker. It is more common for older adults over 45 to have this kind of cancer. Lung Cancer begins when cells are collected together and form a lump, which is also called a tumor. It can be either cancerous which is called malignant or noncancerous which is known as benign. The malignant tumor is able to spread and infect other parts of the body. The fluid that surrounds the tissue in the lung, which is called the lymph, can transport cancer cells if the cancerous tumor sheds them. They can also be transported through the bloodstream. Metastasis occurs when a cancer cells move to another part of the body by leaving its source through the bloodstream or through lymph. It is basically the spread of cancer. For lung cancer, the most common areas the cancer spreads is in the lung, lymph nodes, adrenal glands, liver, bones, and the brain.

What causes lung cancer is no mystery. The leading cause is tobacco as it damages cells in the lung. Tobacco is a carcinogen which means it is cancer-causing. Cigarette smoke causes most lung cancer (Medline Plus). The more cigarettes smoked over a long period of time can heighten the risk. According to the American Cancer Society, “About 85% to 90% of lung cancer deaths are caused directly by smoking, and many others are caused by exposure to secondhand smoke”. About 3,000 deaths of lung cancer are from secondhand smoke in the U.S. Radon, pollution, and asbestos exposures are also known factors that contribute to lung cancer. Radon is odorless gas that occurs naturally in nature that travels up from the soil and into the air we breath. These risk factors can alter the DNA of cells which creates abnormalities in the cell. People may also inherent genetic DNA mutations that increases their risk. Lung cancer is more likely to be caused environmental factors than to be genetic. If someone has lung cancer they may experience certain symptoms. A few common symptoms are a continuous cough, shortness of breath,...
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