Lung cancer is a disease that results from an abnormality in the cell of the body. In one sentence it can be defined as a disease of uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. In normal condition the body maintains a system of checks and balances on cell growth. These checks and balances divide the cells to produce new cells when required. If this system is disrupted then it results in an uncontrolled division and proliferation, which results in a mass called tumor.
Lung cancer symptoms
Below is a list of symptoms for lung cancer:
• Dyspnea. It is shortness of breath.
• Hemoptysis. It means coughing up of blood.
• Chronic coughing or change in regular coughing pattern.
• Either pain in the abdomen or pain in the chest.
• Cachexia, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Cachexia is weight of loss.
• Dysphonia. It means hoarse voice.
• Clubbing of the fingernails, although this is uncommon.
• Dysphagia. It is difficulty in swallowing.
Causes of lung cancer
The main causes of lung cancer are as mentioned below:
• Smoking – Smoking accounts for 90% of lung cancer deaths. Particularly cigarette smoking is the main contributor. Estimated data reveals that in the U.S. 87% cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking. Even passive smokers, one who inhales smoke from another’s smoking, tends to get lung cancer. Recent investigation shows that it is more dangerous than one who smokes directly.
• Radon gas – Radon is a breakdown gas of radioactive radium, a decay of uranium and found in the crust of the Earth. It is colorless and also odorless. Exposure to the radon is the next cause after smoking for lung cancer. It varies from locality to locality and also by the composition of the underlying soil.
• Asbestos – Asbestos may cause lung cancer. Between tobacco and asbestos there is a synergistic effect in the forming of lung cancer. It may also cause cancer of the pleura, known as mesothelioma (different from lung cancer).
• Viruses – Usually viruses cause lung cancer in animals, but recent studies and evidence also shows potential in humans. The viruses affect the cell cycle and then inhibit apoptosis, which allows uncontrolled cell division. Implicated viruses are as mentioned below:
o Himan papillomavirus
o JC virus
o Simian virus 40
o BK virus
The effective prevention ways of lung cancer is to ban smoking completely and frequent screening after the age of 50 as high risk people are those who are in the age group of 55 to 75.
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