The Genetics of Lung Cancer
June 14, 2012
Colorado Christian University
Cancer can be one of the hardest battles that one must face, whether that battle is lost or won, it changes the lives of everyone involved. Lung cancer is one of the most diagnosed cancers and it affects the lining of the lungs and the ability to breathe. Lung cancer is the number one killer of men and women than any other cancer worldwide. This cancer is mostly found in smokers and this is why professionals are targeting this population for testing for diagnosing early and possibly saving a life (www.ncb.nlm.nih.gov). Lung cancer refers to the malignancies that originate in the airways or pulmonary parenchyma.
It is estimated that 159,480 deaths (87,260 men and 72,220 women) from this disease will occur this year. For all people with lung cancer, the one-year survival rate (percentage of people who survive at least one year after the cancer is detected excluding those who die from other diseases) is 44%. The five-year survival rate is 16% (www.cancer net).
Lung cancer is mostly found in smokers or workers that worked with asbestos or environmental agents. Those that did not smoke but lived those who did, also have a higher rate of developing lung cancer. Lung cancer is either defines as small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) or non-small cell cancer (NSCLC), the difference between the two is the staging, treatment, and prognosis. Squamous cell carcinoma or (NSCLS) accounts for about 30% of bronchogenic carcinomas, it develops in the central lung area and also the mucoclilary epithelial cells and then adenocarcinomas (tumor arising from glands) of lung constitutes 35% to 40% of all bronchogenic carcinomas these from in the lung periphery and the alveolar types cells (Heuther/McCane, 2008. Pg.742). The incidence of lung cancer is more prevalent in the black community compared to the Caucasian community. In 2006, Kentucky had the highest rate of lung cancer rates in both men and women; whereas Utah had the lowest rate of lung cancer among both men and women (www.lung .org). Approximately 373,489 Americans are living with lung cancer during 2012; an estimated 226,160 new cases of lung cancer were expected to be diagnosed, representing almost 14 percent of all cancer diagnoses. The majority of those living with cancer will be diagnosed within the last five years (cancer.net).
Lung cancer is not a death sentence. The earlier that it is diagnosed the better chance for treatment and possibility for the chance to a long live, and it can also be that even if you have a chance for treatment, the rate of getting cancer in another part of the body can be very high. The lung cancer five-year survival rate (16.3%) is lower than many other leading cancer sites, such as the colon (65.2%), breast (90.0%) and prostate (99.9%). The five-year survival rate for lung cancer is 52.6 percent for cases detected when the disease is still localized (within the lungs). However, only 15 percent of lung cancer cases are diagnosed at an early stage. For distant tumors (spread to other organs) the five-year survival rate is only 3.5 percent. Over half of people with lung cancer die within one year of being diagnosed (lung.org).
Many people believe that only smoking can cause lung cancer but this is not true. There are several other agents that can cause cancer. The second most common cause of lung cancer is asbestos exposure. Health hazards have been recognized in workers exposed in the shipbuilding trades, asbestos mining and milling, manufacturing asbestos textiles and other asbestos products, insulation work in the construction and building trades and a variety of other trades. There are also the environmental toxins such as: second-hand smoke, radon, metals (arsenic, chromium, and nickel), ionizing radiation, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (www.cancer.org).
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References: Familial Lung Cancer Gene Located. December 27, 2012. National Human Genome Research Institute. Retrieved from: http://www.genome.gov/27531412
Heuther and McCance, Understanding Pathophysiology Fourth Edition, 2008; Mosby Elsevier, St. Louis, MO
Lung Cancer Fact Sheet. 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/lung-cancer/resources/facts-figures/lung-cancer-fact-sheet.html
Lung Cancer. National Cancer Institute. Retrieved from: http://cancer.gov/cancertopics
Rosell R, Taron M, Camps C, López-Vivanco G. Influence of genetic markers on survival in non-small cell lung cancer. October, 2003. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14668933
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