Lung cancer is strongly related to smoking. Cigarette smoke contains over 4000 chemicals, of which 43 are carcinogenic (cancer-causing). These carcinogenic compounds include carbon monoxide, tar, nicotine, arsenic, formaldehyde, etc. Other causes of the disease include radon gas, asbestos, particulate matter, and viruses. Nicotine is highly addictive, thus it can be difficult for smokers to quit their unhealthy habit, even after they are diagnosed with the disease. It becomes even worse because once a smoker has the disease, his or her remaining lifetime will be significantly short, because the survival rate of this cancer is lower than that of other cancers. The cancerous cells can also spread at a faster rate to other parts of body. And even if they don't, a sufferer will still experience breathing problems.
In most cases, metastatic lung cancer affects the liver, brains, adrenal glands and bones. To determine the extent of the cancer spread can be determined using an assessment technique known as lung cancer staging. Staging varies for the two types of the cancer, namely the Small Cell Lung Carcinoma (SCLC) and the Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinoma (NSCLC).
The SCLC staging can be classified as either limited stage or extensive stage. In the limited stage, the tumor is found in one lung or only in the lymph nodes of that lung. In the extensive stage, the tumor has spread into both lungs or other organs in the body. When the cancer has reached the latter stage, chemotherapy is usually the preferred treatment. However, the NSCLC is the most widely used staging scheme. It is divided into four stages, with stage 1 being the mildest form, and stage 4 being the most severe form. NSCLCs can also be categorized into 3 subgroups, namely adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma. Adenocarcinoma is the most common type, accounting for 40% of all NSCLC cases. It is also the most common type of lung cancer found in non-smokers ("never-smokers").
Whether the lung cancer affects other body parts or not would depend on the cancer cell metastasis. To determine whether it has metastatized or not, doctors would use diagnostic techniques such as conventional chest radiography, computerized tomography (CT) scanning, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET) scanning. Based on the test results, your doctor can determine the best treatment for you. Treatment options include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted drug therapy. However, metastatic lung cancer is very difficult to treat, because the cells have spread into various parts of the body. To treat this disease, each and every cell needs to be removed, and this is not an easy thing to do.
Like other types of cancer, there is a possibility that lung cancer affects other body parts too. To find out more about this disease, please visit our website.