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What Do You Need To Know About Lung Cancer?

After skin cancer, the second most common cancer diagnosed in both women and men is lung cancer in the U.S.

Moreover, it is the primary cause of deaths among women as well as men. Almost 25% of all the deaths from cancer occur in the United States. There are an increased number of deaths from lung cancer than from breast cancers, ovarian, colon, and prostate cancer combined. 

Signs and Symptoms

There are different signs and symptoms of lung cancer. At an early stage, a lot of people have no signs or symptoms. Multiple signs and symptoms start appearing when the disease is in the last step. 

Some common signs and symptoms of lung cancer are:

  • Coughing up blood
  • Persistent and recurrent cough
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • A decrease in weight and decrease in appetite with no apparent cause
  • Bone pain
  • Recurrent respiratory infections
  • Swelling of face and neck
  • Severe headache

Risk Factors

The primary risk factor for this cancer is cigarette smoke. The probability of developing lung cancer is related to the number of cigarettes you are smoking every day. 

Some other risk factors for lung cancer are:

  • Exposure to odorless and tasteless gas (radon)
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Previous radiation therapy
  • Exposure to arsenic, asbestos, diesel exhaust and some forms of chromium and silica
  • Family history


For lung cancer screening, the United States Preventative Services Task Force suggests LDCT (Low Dose Computed Tomography). It is a particular kind of X-ray that includes a small amount of radiation to get detailed lung images. The scan is pain-free, quick and needs no special preparations.


There is no guaranteed way of preventing lung cancer. However, you can be proactive and take some measure to decrease the probability of developing lung cancer.

Quit Smoking

You should not start smoking if you have not smoked in your entire life. But if you are a smoker, you must quit smoking. Different resources can assist you in quitting smoking:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Counseling
  • Prescriptive non-nicotine medications
  • Nicotine replacement therapy

When to Visit a Doctor

If you are experiencing any of the signs mentioned above, make the appointment with your consultant. Moreover, if you find yourself under the criteria for screening of lung cancer, you can make the appointment with your specialist to talk about the risks and advantages of testing for LDCT.


Some of the lung cancers are diagnosed through screening. But, significant diversity of diseases are diagnosed as they are causing troublesome signs and symptoms.

Doctor Examination

There is a medical history for assessing your physical examination and risk factors to look for any signs of lung cancer. The specialist may inquire about:

  • The symptoms and their durations
  • The symptoms severity
  • What can exacerbate or reduce the symptoms
  • Any personal history of cancer or family history of lung cancer
  • Any history of lung disease

Imaging Tests

The X-ray of the chest may show a lung nodule or mass if present. In this case, your doctor may ask you to go for imaging tests such as bone scans, PET scan, MRI, and CT scans. 

The chest CT scan can provide you with in-depth information on the location, shape, and size of the lung tumor. Also, it can find out if there are any enlarged lymph nodes. 


Here are two principal categories of lung cancer:

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC): Most rapidly growing and aggressive forms of lung cancer. 

Non-small lung cancer (NSCLC): There are three types; large cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, and adenocarcinomas. 


If you are detected with lung cancer, one of the essential aspects is the staging. It is the fundamental determinant of treatment. The stages of lung cancer are revealed through imaging studies.


The prognosis of lung cancer depends on the stage and type of lung cancer. Usually, the prospects of NSCLC are better as compared to SCLC. 

For SCLC, the five-year relative rates of survival are:

Regional: 16%

Localized: 27%

Distant: 3%

All Combined Stages: 6%

For NSCLC, the relative five-year rates of survival are:

Regional: 35%

Localized: 61%

Distant: 63%

All Combined Stages: 24%


There are several complications of lung cancer and its treatments. A few of them can be life-threatening. Lung cancer at last stages can lead to severe complications because it spreads to the other parts of the body. 

Some of the complications of lung cancer are:

  • Coughing up blood
  • Shortness of breath
  • Widespread and local pain
  • Addition of fluid around the lungs
  • Pneumonia


There are multiple available options for treatment while diagnosed with SCLC or NSCLC. The possible options for treatment for lung cancer include chemotherapy, surgery, targeted therapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy. 

The Verdict

Lung cancer is preventable as compared to some other diseases. You will have a less probability of developing lung cancer if you plan to quit smoking now. Moreover, the survival rates are more in both types of lung cancer because of ongoing research and appropriate screening, leading to improved and refined treatments.