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The incidence of lung cancer is high among men than in women. Lung cancer is one of the most prevalent type of cancer and a leading cause of cancer deaths around the world. It generally affects any part of the lung or the airway passage of the lungs.
The lung cancer is of three types namely the non-small cell lung cancer, the small cell carcinoma and the lung carcinoid tumour. The non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type of lung cancer accounting to 85% of the total cases. The small cell carcinoma also called as ‘oat cell’ carcinoma that spreads quickly among the normal cells and accounts to 10-15% of the lung cancer cases. The lung carcinoid tumour accounts to 5% of the total lung cancer cases.
Signs and Symptoms
Cough: Generally a normal cough is associated with infection and disappears within a span of a week. A normal cough may be dry or may contain mucous secretion. But a cough associated with cancer is different from a general cough.
A cough associated with cancer lasts from weeks to months that produces a hoarse and dry cough. A cough produces a loud sound with vibrations felt in the chest while coughing.
Wheezing: Due to the constriction, blockade or inflammation of airway passages, a whistling sound of the breath is produced from the lungs. The wheezing may also be produced in case of asthma or other respiratory tract infections. Hence, consult a doctor if the wheezing persists for a long period.
Difficulty in breathing: A person suffering from cancer may experience shortness of breath and a difficulty in breathing, due to the blockade of the airways passages. You may experience difficulty in breathing while walking or sleeping, even on performing a small physical activity such as climbing stairs, etc.
Weight loss: Cancer is usually witnessed with an unexplained weight loss of approximately 5kgs. It may be due to the consumption of energy in the body by the cancer cells.
Bone pain: The bone pain may arise due to the spread of the infection to the bones. The pain in the bones is usually experienced in the shoulder bone, arms and the chest. The bone pain may increase with the movement of the person.
Headaches: Headaches usually arise due to the spread of the infection to the brain. But sometimes the pain may also arise due to the pressure on the blood vessels. This pressure is created when the cancer lump blocks the blood vessel that carries blood from the upper region of the body to the heart.
The common causes of lung cancer include smoking which may be either active and passive smoking. Active smoking involves smoking of cigarette by an individual. Whereas passive smoking is the inhalation of smoke of another person. Passive smoking is more dangerous than active smoking.
Lung cancer may also occur due to genetic changes in the body or due to a family history.
Lung cancer is strongly associated with the smoking of cigarettes and cigars. It accounts for a total of 90% of the total tobacco cases. The chances of developing lung cancer are higher in smokers when compared to non-smokers. Lung cancer caused due to inhalation of secondhand smoke is more dangerous than of direct smoke of a cigarette.
Exposure to certain chemicals such as radon, asbestos, arsenic in drinking water and air pollution has increased the risk of lung cancer.
The diagnosis of lung cancer can be done by following diagnostic procedures. The diagnostic procedures followed are:
Surgery: The surgery for lung cancer is a complex one, as cancer may be present in the lungs or in the airway passages. Lung surgery may include removing the entire lung if the tumour is present in the centre of the lungs or removing a part of the lobe or the entire lobe from the lungs.
Radiofrequency Ablation: It is an outpatient procedure, where high energy radio waves are used to heat the tumour with the help of a probe. The probe with the help of a local anaesthetic is inserted into the lungs till the tip reaches the tumour. Then heat is applied to melt the tumour.
Radiation therapy: This procedure is used to remove the tumour with the help of radiations. The radiation therapy is given along with chemotherapy for better results.
Chemotherapy: It is the treatment of cancer with help of anti-cancer agents. Chemotherapy drugs are administered either orally or through intravenous route. It is effective in treating various stages of lung cancer.
Targeted Therapy: This technique use antibiotics such as monoclonal antibodies in the treatment of lung cancer.
Coping and Support
A cancer patient may feel distressed due to mood fluctuation, a side effect associated with chemotherapy. But the patient should cope with the disease by maintaining a healthy physical and mental health.
Before the start of the treatment, the patient and the family should know about the disease and the treatment duration and procedure. A positive support of the family and friends of the patient helps in early recovery of the patient from the distress caused due to cancer.
This video is an informative animated presentation that explains in detail about Stem cell therapy. Stem cell transplant is a procedure that uses stem cells to treat a disease or condition. Currently, stem cell therapy only treats diseases and cancers of the blood.
This video discusses the HIPEC treatment used to fight Cancer in the abdominal cavity. First the doctors perform a cytoreductive surgery to remove tumors. All visible tumors on the liver, stomach, small intestines, colon, rectum, uterus, and ovaries.
Watch the video by Dr. Somashekhar S P to know the role of HIPEC in advanced ovarian and colorectal cancer. HIPEC treatment along with cytoreductive surgery can increase the chance of survival in the patients who are suffering from advanced colorectal cancer. However, the combination of these two procedures is the only treatment option for advanced ovarian cancer.
Few of the differences between HIPEC and IV/ Oral chemotherapy are: HIPEC: â€¢ HIPEC is a kind of chemotherapy that is used directly to peritoneum, whereas, oral/IV chemotherapy is used through oral or veins. â€¢ HIPEC requires single dose, whereas, oral/IV requires multiple doses orally or intravenously. â€¢ Unlike oral, there is not any systematic toxicity in HIPEC. Watch the video by Dr. Somshekhar S P to know how HIPEC is different from intravenous or oral chemotherapy
HIPEC is a method of cancer cure that works mainly in the peritoneal cavity What kind of cancers can be cured by HIPEC? The types of cancers and conditions it can be used to cure are: Mesothelioma Ovarian Cancer Colorectal cancers with peritoneal spread. HIPEC can also be sued for other carcinomas with a peritoneal spread as it functions mainly in the peritoneal cavity.
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