April is now cancer control month in the United States, as announced by The White House in 2012. Aside from all of the different types of cancer, lung cancer is the ones that causes the most deaths in men and women, middle aged people and senior citizens. One of the ways of dealing with lung cancer during treatment might be the use of oxygen therapy.
The high death rate for people with lung cancer, is because in the early stages, it can be hard to find an detect. The lungs are a comparatively large organ and there are two of them, so a cancerous tumor can grow inside them for a while without being detected. If you happen to get a chest x-ray for other reasons, a tumor and lung cancer can be found. If you're lucky, the cancer wouldn't have spread because of the type of lung cancer it might be. Just like any other cancer, it can spread to other parts of the body and make treating it much more difficult, with a poor prognosis.
The Two Main Types of Lung Cancer
There are two main types of lung cancer that are classified as non-small cell and small cell. Non-small cell is the most common and spreads more slowly than small cell lung cancer. With non-small cell lung cancer, we can have three different types of tumors – large cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinoma, which invades the lining of the bronchial tubes, and adenocarcinoma, which is the most common of these in the United States.
Non-small cell lung cancer takes a while to spread, but it's also nearly impossible to detect when it is in the early stages. In stage I, it only exists in the lungs. As it grows, it progresses to stage II, which means it has spread to the lymph nodes that are closest to the lungs. Stage III is where it starts to complicate things, where it can continue spreading only on one side of the chest, or it can spread out to the other side of the chest and extend to the lymph nodes on the opposite side from where it started.
Stage IV is also known as advanced disease and is where it has spread all the way across the chest, the fluid around the lungs and to other organs.
There are only stages of small cell lung cancer – one where it is localized in the lungs, and the extensive stage where it has spread to other parts of the body. This type of lung cancer is more rare, but is caused almost exclusively by cigarette smoke and spreads much more quickly than non-small cell.
Signs and Symptoms
If you have a cough that lasts more than two weeks, wheezing or you are coughing up bloody, or rusty-colored phlegm, you should see your doctor as soon as you can. Persistent respiratory infections are another sign, as well as if you have a history of smoking.
Cigarette smoke has a big hand in all types of lung cancer, so you should avoid it at all costs. Quit smoking, never start smoking and stay away from second hand smoke as much as possible. If you have a close relative who had lung cancer, your doctor will have you come in for regular screenings. Avoid carcinogens as much as possible, and lead a healthy lifestyle with healthy foods and regular exercise. You should also have your home tested for radon, according to the American Lung Association.
Information on this page is for reference and educational purposes only. For more information about lung cancer, talk to your doctor or primary care provider.