Lung cancer, like all other types of cancer, develops as a result of an abnormality in the body's cells. Tumours can be malignant or benign, but when we speak of cancer, we are referring to the malignant tumours. Tumours in the lung can be primary or secondary. In cases where the tumour is primary, these tumours can grow aggressively and may spread or metastasize through the lymphatic system to other parts of the body, such as the liver or brain. In other cases, the lung tumour may be secondary as the lung is also a common site for metastasis.
Cells turn cancerous due to exposure to various environmental factors. Smokers have the greatest risk of developing lung cancer. These odds increase depending on the length of time and number of cigarettes one has smoked, including those who are passive smokers or inhale second-hand smoke. Your risk for developing lung cancer increases if you have a history of lung cancer in the family or are exposed to air pollution, diesel exhaust, asbestos fibres and radon gas. In addition, lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pulmonary fibrosis appear to increase the risk of developing lung cancer.
While lung cancer doesn't typically cause signs and symptoms during the early stages of the disease, it is essential to have regular check-ups with your physician and be wary of the following symptoms:
If you suspect any respiratory condition or lung disease, it is important to see Dr Mothilal. Your lung specialist can then do a range of tests to diagnose your condition and identify any cancerous tumour early. For diagnosis, he may suggest X-ray and CT scan imaging as well as bronchoscopy and an endobronchial ultrasound to identify suspicious growths. During the bronchoscopy, a tissue sample may be taken for testing. In addition, if you have a cough and are producing sputum, the sputum may also be examined under a microscope.
The treatment of lung cancer, or any cancer for that matter, requires a multidisciplinary team of specialists such as an oncologist, radiation therapist, general surgeon and of course your lung specialist to provide care specific to your specific case.