Lung Cancer

Of all of the negative effects of smoking, lung cancer is arguably the worst, though lung cancer can occur in the lungs of people who do not smoke and have no history of smoking.  It still remains that a person's risk of developing lung cancer goes up with any increase in their smoking habit.  Lung cancer usually begins in the bronchi, or the tiny tubes that carry air to different parts of the lungs, and can be divided into two main groups; non-small cell lung cancer, or NSCLC is the variety that comprises the majority of cases, while small cell lung cancer is rarer and faster moving.  Some people develop lung cancer that is a mix of both types of cancer, in which case it is known as mixed small cell/large cell cancer.

Many of the symptoms of lung cancer naturally have to do with the pulmonary system.  Those with lung cancer may experience a cough, occasionally one that brings up blood, as well as pain in their chest and wheezing.  There are other symptoms, though, that occur outside of the pulmonary system, which as weight loss and appetite loss.  The more that lung cancer progresses, the more likely a person is to have still more of these symptoms that are outside of the lungs.  Later on in particular, a person with lung cancer may experience symptoms such as pain in their bones, their joints, and their shoulders.  They may find that their voice changes tones, and that they have trouble swallowing.  Still further, their face may swell or even become partially or fully paralyzed.  It is common sense for a person to see their doctor in the face of any of these symptoms, and many people may be relieved by a diagnosis that points to something other than lung cancer.

Unfortunately, lung cancer is extremely deadly, and, like most varieties of cancer, can spread itself beyond its organ of origin.  If, however, the lung cancer is caught early enough, it may still be operable.  In this case the doctors may remove all or part of the lung that has been infected.  If it has spread to certain nearby lymph nodes, those will be removed as well.   Lung cancer is also sensitive to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and even laser or photodynamic therapy.  One of the difficult parts of any cancer treatment is dealing with the side effects of such potent therapies.  Small cell lung cancer is more virulent and spreads faster than non small cell lung cancer, and so is more difficult to stop before it becomes metastasized.

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