know about the symptoms, causes, stage, risk, diagnosis, treatment, and home remedies for lung cancer –
Are there different types of lung cancer?
- Cancer that starts in the lungs is called lung cancer.
- The most common type is non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
- About 30 percent of lung cancer cases start in the body cavity lining and surface.
- It is formed in the outer parts of the lung which is called adenocarcinoma.
- Another 30 percent of cases occur in the respiratory tract (squamous cell carcinoma).
- Small cells lung cancer (SCLC) is caused in 15 to 20 percent of cases.
- In some cases, lung cancer tumors contain both small and large cancer cells.
- Mesothelioma is considered another type of lung cancer.
- Tumors in the lungs grow rapidly without any symptoms.
- In the initial symptoms, there may be a common problem like chills, etc.
- Therefore, early diagnosis of lung cancer is very difficult.
What are the symptoms of lung cancer?
The symptoms of small and large cell cancer are almost the same. Its initial symptoms like-
- Worsening of cough
- Coughing up mucus or blood
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite
- Sudden weight loss
- Worsening of chest pain when breathing, laughing, or coughing
- Heaviness of voice
Apart from this, you can also get respiratory infection due to pneumonia or bronchitis.
Symptoms associated with the spread of cancer where the tumor spreads, for example –
- Bones – especially pain in the groin, ribs, or hips.
- Lymph nodes – Pain in the neck or collarbone.
- Brain or Spine – Headache, dizziness, balance issues, numbness in hands, feet.
- Liver – Yellowing of the skin and eyes due to jaundice.
Tumors above the lungs can affect the facial nerve, causing drooping of the eyelids, small pupils, and poor functioning of half of the face. The simultaneous occurrence of these symptoms is known as Horner’s syndrome. Due to which there can also be pain in the shoulder.
This tumor can also press on the large vein that carries blood to the head, arms and heart. This can cause swelling on the face, neck, upper chest and hands.
Many times, due to lung cancer, hormones are made similar to it, which is called paraneoplastic syndrome and many types of symptoms are seen such as –
- High blood sugar
- Muscle weakness
- Fluid retention
- High blood pressure
What causes lung cancer?
- Lung cancer can happen to anyone, but more than 90 percent of cases are due to smoking.
- Smoking causes damage to the lung tissue.
- Lungs repair themselves, but due to continuous smoking, it becomes difficult for the lungs to repair themselves.
- Once the cells are damaged, they start reacting abnormally, which increases the risk of getting cancer.
- Most small cell lung cancers are associated with excessive smoking.
- Quitting smoking reduces the risk of lung cancer over time.
- Some genetic factors can also increase the risk of lung cancer.
What are the stages of lung cancer?
There are four main stages of non-small cell cancer (NSCL) –
- Stage 1 – This cancer is found in the lungs but has not spread beyond them.
- Stage 2 – It occurs near the lymph nodes inside the lungs.
- Stage 3 – Cancer in the lung and lymph nodes in the middle of the chest
- Stage 3A – Cancer that occurs in the lymph nodes but remains on the same side of the chest as where it started.
- Stage 3B – Cancer has spread to the lymph nodes on the other side of the chest or above the collarbone.
- Stage 4 – Cancer has spread to both the lungs and other organs.
Whereas Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC) has two stages. Cancer has spread to one lung or lymph nodes on only one side in a limited area. Whereas cancer can spread to the following places when the stage is advanced –
- In one lung
- To the other lung
- Other side lymph nodes
- Bone marrow
- Other distant organs
- Fluid around the lungs
Lung cancer and back pain
- It is quite common for most people to have back pain and not every person with back pain needs to have lung cancer.
- Not every patient with lung cancer has back pain, but many patients have pain.
- For some people, back pain is the first symptom of lung cancer.
- Back pain is caused due to pressure on the tumor developing in the lung.
- The compression of the spinal cord may increase as the cancerous tumor progresses.
Due to this, the following conditions may occur such as –
- Weakness of arms and legs
- Numbness and loss of feeling in feet and legs
- Trouble controlling urine and bowel
- Spinal blood supply problem
This back pain can get very bad without treatment. In its treatment, surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy can remove or shrink the tumor. Apart from this, NSAIDs and painkillers are given by doctors.
What are the risk factors of lung cancer
- One of its biggest risk factors is smoking.
- Tobacco contains several thousand toxic substances.
- Apart from this, there are many such gases present in the atmosphere, which increase the risk of lung cancer.
- People who do not smoke with this type of gas are also at risk.
- Lung cancer can also occur due to radiation therapy done on the chest.
- Family history or say family history also increases its risk.
- Previous history of lung cancer as a smoker
Lung cancer and smoking
- It is not necessary that every smoker gets lung cancer, but smoking is the main reason for patients with lung cancer.
- Cigarettes, cigars, etc. can be linked to lung cancer.
- The more and longer you smoke, the greater the risk of becoming cancer.
- Tobacco products contain many chemicals that increase the risk of cancer.
- The chemicals in tobacco products increase the risk of developing other types of cancer by spreading throughout the body through the bloodstream.
Lung cancer diagnosis
For this, along with physical examination, some tests are done like –
- Imaging Tests – X-ray, MRI, CT scan, PET scan, etc. in which even the smallest lesions are seen.
- Sputum cytology – The presence of mucus during cough is observed under a microscope and cancer cells are detected.
Biopsy is used to find out whether there is cancer in the tumor cells, for which a sample of tissue is taken. in which –
- Bronchoscopy – In this, a lighted tube is inserted from the throat to the lungs and viewed.
- Mediastinoscopy – For this, samples of lymph nodes are taken with the help of surgical tools with light tubes, etc. by making an incision in the neck. General anesthesia is given to do this.
- Needle – After the imaging test, a sample of lung tissue is taken from the needle in the chest wall.
The tissue sample is sent to the lab for testing. Cancer is confirmed when its result is positive.
Lung cancer treatment
Before starting the treatment, it is necessary to discuss with the other doctor and get the idea. Usually when lung cancer is diagnosed –
- Medical oncologist
- Radiation oncologist
- Lung specialist
- Chest and lung specialist
The options should be discussed with the doctor before starting the treatment. Treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) varies from person to person.
- Stage 1 (NSCLC) – Surgery to remove part of the lung, while chemotherapy is also done considering the risk of recurrence.
- Stage 2 (NSCLC) – Surgery is needed to remove parts of the lung. Along with this chemotherapy is also given.
- Stage 3 (NSCLC) – Chemotherapy, radiation and surgery are all needed in this.
- Stage 4 (NSCLC) – It is difficult to cure but options like radiation, chemo, targeted therapy, immunotherapy are done.
Whereas surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are also given for small cell lung cancer.
Home Remedies for Lung Cancer
Home remedies or homeopathic medicines cannot cure cancer. But some home remedies can reduce the side effects of the treatment along with giving relief in its symptoms.
A doctor should be consulted before taking any new supplements etc. In its alternative treatment –
- Massage – It provides relief in pain and nervousness. There should be a trained therapist for this.
- Yoga – Breath-related pranayama, meditation, stretching leads to better health and sleep.
- Acupuncture – This should be done by a trained person. Which gives relief in nausea, vomiting, and pain.
- Meditation – It improves the quality of life by reducing stress.
Food and drink tips
- Eat food when you are hungry.
- If you do not feel very hungry, divide the food into small portions.
- To gain weight, you can take low sugar supplements, high-calorie drinks, etc.
- Take mint or ginger tea for better digestion.
- Do not eat spicy food in case of mouth ulcer or stomach upset.
- In case of constipation, take more amount of fiber in the food.
Once cancer enters your lymph nodes or bloodstream, the chances of it spreading anywhere in the body increase. Apart from this, the life of a person suffering from lungs can be told on issues like age, overall health, body’s activity towards treatment, etc.
For any other problem or question, a doctor should be consulted.