All you need to know about lung cancer

When the cells in your body start growing uncontrollably it’s known as cancer. When this starts in the lungs, it’s called lung cancer. It begins in the lungs and then makes its way to the lymph nodes and other organs of the body. This spread is known as metastases. There are two types of lung cancer – small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. The most common type is non-small cell lung cancer.

The main causes of lung cancer are:

  • Smoking
  • Second-hand smoking
  • History of radiation therapy
  • Radon gas exposure
  • Family history of lung cancer

Lung cancer symptoms can vary from person to person. But some of the common symptoms are:

  • A cough that doesn’t go away
  • Coughing up blood, even a small amount
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Losing weight
  • Bone pain
  • Headache

There are six stages of lung cancer. These are:

  • Stage 1: The cancer is only in the lungs and hasn’t spread to the other organs
  • Stage 2: The cancer is detected in the lungs and lymph nodes near the lungs
  • Stage 3: Cancer is detected in the lungs and lymph nodes in the middle of the patient’s chest
  • Stage 3A: The cancer is found in lymph nodes that are on the same side of the lungs where cancer started growing
  • Stage 3B: Cancer spreads to the lymph nodes on the other side of the lungs and the nodes near the collarbone.
  • Stage 4: The cancer cells affect both the lungs and spread to the other organs.

Lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. According to research, 80 to 85 per cent of lung cancer cases are non-small cell lung cancer. Smokers are more prone to lung cancer. Within 10 years of quitting smoking, the risk of death due to lung cancer drops by half. It is very important to try and prevent yourself from getting this disease. This can be done by staying away from smoke, avoiding carcinogens, having a healthy diet and exercising daily. If you find yourself experiencing any symptoms mentioned here, it is advisable to get yourself checked by an oncologist at the earliest.

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