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Lung cancer type and symptoms.

Lung Cancer:

Lung cancer has emerged as the leading killer of men and women stricken with invasive cancer, affecting husbands and wives, friends and neighbors, and causing suffering for many families. In the United States, lung cancer overtook breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths in women in 1987. Lung cancer deaths account for a quarter of all American cancer deaths, killing more people every year than prostate, breast, and colon cancer combined. Over 157,000 Americans are estimated to have died from lung cancer in 2015.

This disease is difficult to detect in its early stages, and treatments for lung cancer in its later stages provide a poor prognosis: Those with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer—the most common type—have an estimated 1 percent survival rate five years after diagnosis. The other type of lung cancer—small cell lung cancer—is even more aggressive. According to the American Cancer Society, the overall survival rate for lung cancer as of Jan. 1, 2014 stands at just 3%.

lung cancer types and symptoms
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Types of Lung Cancer

There are two primary types of lung cancer:

Non-small cell lung cancer is most common, being responsible for 80 to 85 percent of cancers. This is the type of lung cancer more commonly found in non-smokers, women, and young adults.

Small cell lung cancer is responsible for around 15 percent of lung cancers. These lung cancers tend to be aggressive and may not be found until they have already spread (especially to the brain). They usually respond fairly well to chemotherapy but have a poor prognosis.

Non-small cell lung cancer is further broken down into three types:

Lung adenocarcinoma: Lung adenocarcinoma is responsible for half of non-small cell lung cancers and is currently the most common type of lung cancer. Lung adenocarcinomas are usually found deep in the lungs, where smoke from a filtered cigarette would settle.

Squamous cell carcinoma of the lungs: Squamous cell lung cancer was once the most common type of lung cancer, but its incidence has decreased in recent years, possibly due to the addition of filters to cigarettes. Squamous cell cancers tend to occur in or near the large airways—the first place exposed to cigarette smoke.

Large cell lung cancer: Large cell carcinomas of the lungs tend to grow in the outer regions of the lungs. These are usually rapidly growing tumors that spread quickly.
Other, less common types of lung cancer include carcinoid tumors and neuroendocrine tumors.

What Are Symptoms and Signs of Lung Cancer?

Up to one-fourth of all people with lung cancer may have no symptoms when the cancer is diagnosed. These cancers usually are identified incidentally when a chest X-ray is performed for another reason. The majority of people, however, develop symptoms. The symptoms are due to direct effects of the primary tumor, to effects of metastatic tumors in other parts of the body, or to disturbances of hormones, blood, or other systems caused by the cancer.

Symptoms of primary lung cancers include cough, coughing up blood, chest pain, and shortness of breath.

✓A new cough in a smoker or a former smoker should raise concern for lung cancer.

✓A cough that does not go away or gets worse over time should be evaluated by a health care professional.

✓Coughing up blood (hemoptysis) occurs in a significant number of people who have lung cancer. Any amount of coughed-up blood is cause for concern.

✓Chest pain is a symptom in about one-fourth of people with lung cancer. The pain is dull, aching, and persistent.

✓Shortness of breath usually results from a blockage to the flow of air in part of the lung, collection of fluid around the lung (pleural effusion), or the spread of tumor throughout the lungs.

✓Wheezing or hoarseness may signal blockage or inflammation in the lungs that may go along with cancer.

✓Repeated respiratory infections, such as bronchitis or pneumonia, can be a sign of lung cancer.



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