Lung Cancer - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment
What is Lung Cancer?
Lung cancer, which progresses insidiously, is one of the world's most risky types of cancer. It occurs due to uncontrolled proliferation of cells, triggering the formation of a mass, a tumor in the lung tissue. Although the tumor formed in the lung in the first stage, it poses a new threat by reaching other surrounding tissues such as the liver, brain, bones, and adrenal glands in the later stages.
What are the symptoms?
Early-stage symptoms of lung cancer include:
- Cough that does not go away, mainly due to smoking
- Bloody sputum
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
- Increased shoulder pain when coughing
- Difficulty eating
On the other hand, if cancerous cells spread to other tissues, symptoms such as bone pain, headache, muscle fatigue, and drooping eyelids may also be seen. Lung cancer may not always show apparent symptoms in the early stages; it is a disease that develops slowly over the years. This makes the diagnosis of the disease difficult. Therefore, if you have complaints about the above symptoms, it can be life-saving to consult a doctor without delay.
What are the Stages of Lung Cancer?
Lung cancer, divided into stages according to the size of the tumor and its spread area, consists of 4 primary stages.
Cancerous cells are up to 5 cm in size and are found only in the lymph nodes.
Cancerous cells are between 5-7 cm in size and have spread to the rib cage and diaphragm.
Cancerous cells are more significant than 7 cm. It has spread to lymph nodes outside the lung. It also reaches the main bronchus, the pericardium in the chest, and the ribs.
Cancerous cells have spread to other organs as well.
What are the Causes of Lung Cancer?
One of the biggest causes of lung cancer, most common in people aged 65 and over, is smoking and tobacco consumption. In addition to smokers, the risk rate is high for passive smokers exposed to cigarette smoke for a long time. On the other hand, after an average of 5 years, cancer decreases significantly in people who quit smoking.
In addition, those with a family history of lung cancer, long-term exposure to air pollution, radon gas inhalation, and asbestos are also in the risk group.
Early Diagnosis of Lung Cancer
Although the early diagnosis of lung cancer was difficult in the past, it has become easier with today's technology, as long as it is not too late. First of all, chest X-rays are taken for people who come to the hospital with the above complaints. Of the patients with a mass in the lung; One or more of the scanning tests such as computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MR), positron emission tomography (PET-Scan) may be requested. In addition, a piece of the mass is taken by biopsy, and the type of cancerous cell is determined by pathological examination. As a result of these procedures, detailed information about the cancer type, stage, and spread is obtained.
Early diagnosis of lung cancer plays a vital role in the course of the disease and its elimination. For this reason, it is recommended that individuals who smoke and are exposed to polluted air should have a lung x-ray at least once or twice a year, starting from the age of 40.
How Is Lung Cancer Treated?
Appropriate treatment planning is done with a multidisciplinary approach according to the age, general health status, type, and stage of the tumor patients diagnosed with lung cancer. Generally, surgical intervention is preferred in the treatment of first-stage tumors. The aim here is to remove the cancerous tissue by surgical procedure. Procedures in which the entire lobe is removed are called lobectomy, and operations in which one of the lungs is removed are called a pneumonectomy.
In the later stages, additional chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or radiotherapy can be applied.
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