What is lung cancer?

Lung cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the lungs - and typically does not cause signs or symptoms in its earliest stages. Cancer may spread to lymph nodes or other organs in the body such as the brain.

Lung cancer are grouped to two main types:

  • Small cell
    Small cell lung cancer or SCLC is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the lung.
  • Non-small cell
    known as NSCLC, the main subtypes of NSCLC are adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and large cell carcinoma

Non-small cell lung cancer is a more common type of lung cancer compared to small cell lung cancer.

What are the symptoms of lung cancer?

Lung cancer will show signs and symptoms in the later stages. Signs and symptoms of lung cancer may include:

  • A new cough that does not go away
  • Continuously coughing up blood
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Loss of weight without attempting to
  • Bone pain
  • Headache

How is smoking related to lung cancer?

Smoking or secondhand smoke has a direct correlation to a majority of lung cancers. However, there is no clear cause relating smoking to lung cancer as those without prolonged exposure to smoke also face the risk of developing lung cancer.

Other risk factors that may increase the possibility of developing lung cancer can include:

  • Previous radiation therapy
    If you have undergone radiation therapy to the chest while treating another type of cancer, you may have an increased risk of developing lung cancer
  • Exposure to radon gas
    Radon is a substance that naturally breakdown uranium, and can accumulate in any building, including your home
  • Exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens
    Workplace exposure to certain items known to cause cancer may increase your risk
  • Family history of lung cancer
    If your parent, sibling or child are diagnosed with lung cancer, you will have an increased risk of developing the disease

Screening is an important step in ensuring early intervention for lung cancer. Talk to your healthcare service provider and start screening especially if you possess any of the risk factors mentioned in the above.

Regency’s Heart & Lung Centre is well equipped with specialists and healthcare professionals to help diagnose and treat your condition.

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