More than 2.2 million new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed every year worldwide, and it happens to be the leading cause of cancer-related death, claiming about 1.8 million lives annually. The malignancy can develop in any part of the lung and is most commonly seen in people who smoke or are exposed to second-hand smoke. The risk of developing lung cancer is similar in males and females. As per the expert specialising in lung cancer treatment in Gurgaon, the chances of a man developing lung cancer are 1 in 16, and that of a woman is 1 in 17. Early detection and treatment play a crucial role in effectively managing lung cancer; however, for this, you must understand lung cancer better. Now oncologists are noticing an increasingly higher number of lung cancer cases in the younger population without a history of smoking as well.
What is lung cancer?
Lung cancer is the most common cancer affecting people, both sexes combined globally, a study by Globocan confirms. It is marked by rapid and uncontrolled cell division triggered by certain mutations in the DNA of the cells found within the lungs. As cancer progresses, it results in the gradual replacement of all the healthy lung tissues with cancerous cells and tissues, which can also spread to the surrounding lymph nodes and metastasise to distant areas of the body.
Getting familiar with the types
Depending on the cells that are involved, lung cancer can be broadly classified into two different types:
● NSCLC - It stands for non-small cell lung cancer, which accounts for almost 80 to 85 per cent of all lung cancers. The cancer is generally slow growing and originates within the lung tissues. In this case, the cancer cells tend to be significant; however, it is usually diagnosed when cancer metastasizes to other areas of the body. The most common types include adenocarcinoma, squamous, and large-cell carcinoma.
● SCLC - It stands for small cell lung cancer, which accounts for almost 10 to 15 per cent of all lung cancers and is also sometimes called oat cell cancer. This also originates from the tissues present within the lungs and has been closely linked to smoking. The cancer cells are comparatively smaller; it is pretty aggressive in nature. In the majority of cases, the cancer is incurable.
Watch out for these symptoms.
If diagnosed early, lung cancer can be treated with higher efficiency and better outcomes; however, this is possible only if we point out the symptoms and get them evaluated at the earliest. Unfortunately, many symptoms may be silent initially and tend to develop only after cancer progresses. Experts from the top cancer hospital in Gurugram suggest that it is vital to see a doctor if you are experiencing any of these:
● Persistent coughing that tends to worsen with time
● Unexplained chest pain that is not linked to a cardiovascular problem
● Falling short of breath despite not indulging in any physical activity
● Wheezing or coarse rattle due to narrowing of the airway
● Coughing up blood or having traces of blood in your sputum
● Unexplained fatigue and weakness
● Losing weight unintentionally, without any efforts
Factors that can increase your risk of developing lung cancer
We do not know the exact cause of lung cancer; however, certain aspects have been linked with its increased incidence. We have listed some of them here, with the help of the best oncologist in Gurugram.
● Smoking tobacco and using products containing it
● Second-hand smoking
● Being exposed to toxic gases like radon
● Being exposed to asbestos
● Being exposed to radioactive ores for a long time
● Inhaling toxic chemicals like arsenic and silica
● Family or personal history of lung cancer
● Living in an area with high air pollution index
● Chulha smoke in rural settings
About the treatment
Treatment options involve newer surgical, medical and radiation treatment techniques. In Surgical treatment, recent advancements include VATS Surgery for Lung Cancer, Lobectomy and Pneumonectomy. Targeted Therapies and Immunotherapy in Medical Oncology are increasing the chances of cure for lung cancer. For stage I and II, Lung Cancer Surgery/VATS Lobectomy are a good curative option. For stage III, either Chemo-Radiation followed by surgery or definitive Chemo-Radiations are viable options.
Dr. Archit Pandit,
Director and HOD, Surgical Oncology