My topic for this term paper will be lung cancer. This topic was chosen because I have pass family who’ve lost their lives to lung cancer. I believe the best way to start is by defining the disease. We will then take a glance at statistics and risk factors for lung cancer. Next will look at lung cancer symptoms, staging and treatment, and finally I will draw my final conclusion. I. What is Lung Cancer? A simple and understandable definition of lung cancer is: A disease which consists of uncontrolled cell growth in lung tissues.
Lung cancer consists of two types: Non-small cell lung cancer, and small cell lung cancer. (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer. ” (Zieve & Yi-Bin, 2010) The bronchi (The large air tubes leading from the trachea to the lungs that convey air to and from the lungs. ) is where most lung cancers begins. The body normally maintains cell growth only producing new cells when needed. Disruption of normal cell growth results in an uncontrolled division and proliferation of cells eventually forming a tumor. Tumors can be benign or malignant, but when we speak of cancer (including lung cancer), the tumors are malignant.
Lung cancer metastasizes very early after it forms making it a very life-threatening cancer, difficult to treat. A. Lung Cancer Statistics Make no mistake; lung cancer is the most deadly form of cancer death. I decided for statistics I would research information on lung cancer deaths in the United States. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) the last reported year for lung cancer deaths is 2007. Let’s look at the statistics. In the US alone, “109,643 men and 93,893 women were told they had lung cancer, and 88,329 men and 70,354 women died from it. ” (U. S. Cancer Statistics Working Group, 2010) Now let’s take a look at the statistics by gender and race. For men, “black men were diagnosed with lung cancer most often, followed by white, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Hispanic men. ” (U. S. Cancer Statistics Working Group, 2010), The order for women was that white women were diagnosed with the most new cases, “followed by black, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Hispanic women. ” (U. S. Cancer Statistics Working Group, 2010) Percentage wise 82. 7 percent of men, and 55. 0 percent of women were diagnosed with lung cancer.
B. The Risk Factors There are some things we can do to control the risk of getting lung cancer. Smoking is one of the highest risks factors to developing lung cancer. “Quitting at any age can significantly lower your risk of developing lung cancer. ” (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2011) Other risk factors to developing lung cancer are things around us at home or work, such as radon (colorless gas that comes from rocks and dirt and can get trapped in houses and buildings) gas or asbestos, second hand smoke, and having a family history of lung cancer. One more thing before we move on.
High alcohol abuse can increase the risk of developing lung cancer. II. Lung Cancer Symptoms A. Symptoms of lung cancer Research shows one-fourth of people show no symptoms, some even when diagnosed with lung cancer, but the majority of people diagnosed do show symptoms. The key to a better survival rate depends on catching lung cancer early. This is why it’s very important to know the symptoms. Some of the early signs of lung cancer are: Cough that doesn’t go away, shortness of breath with activity, pain or aching in your shoulder, back, chest, or arm, and repeated infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
Men usually develop squamous cell carcinoma of the lungs often showing early symptoms such as: Chronic cough, Coughing up blood, Wheezing, Shortness of breath, and Hoarseness. For women and non-smokers, adenocarcinoma (Adenocarcinoma of the lung is a form of non-small cell lung cancer. Adenocarcinoma of the lung begins in the outer parts of the lung, and it can be present for a long time before it is diagnosed. ) is the most common lung cancer found. Another form of cancer affecting younger woman and non smokers is (BAC) Bronchioloalveolar Carcinoma which is a rare form of lung cancer.
The symptoms are the same as other lung cancers, and like adenocarcinoma it takes a long time to diagnose. Remember, lung cancer is insidious and the earlier lung cancer is diagnosed the better the prognosis, so know the symptoms of lung cancer. III. Lung Cancer Treatment A. Lung Cancer Staging Staging is the process of doing examinations and tests to learn the extent of the cancer; especially whether it has metastasized from its original site to other parts of the body. Lung cancer staging was developed by (UICC) Union Internationale Contre le Cancer and the American Joint Committee for Cancer Staging (AJCC).
The staging system developed is called (TNM) staging system, which stands for tumor, node, and metastases. “The TNM system is used for all lung carcinomas except small cell lung cancers,” (Isaac Hassan, 2009) which uses a different staging system. Before I go any further note that (NSCLC) makes up for 75% of all lung cancers, and since non-small cell lung cancers make up the majority of people with lung cancer in the US, we will concentrate on the staging process for (NSCLC). Staging provides a means to which different therapies can be compared to receive optimal results.
Staging describes the extent of lung cancer in people. The elements of staging are: * “Site of the primary tumor. * Tumor size and number of tumors. * Lymph node involvement (spread of cancer into lymph nodes). * Cell type and tumor grade* (how closely the cancer cells resemble normal tissue cells). * The presence or absence of metastasis. ” (Cancer Staging, 2010) Now that we know the what, why, and how lung cancer staging works, let’s move on to treatment. B. Cancer Treatment There are various treatments for non-small cell lung cancer.
As far as surgery goes, there are four types; Lobectomy (where surgery removes the lobe of the lung,) Wedge resection to remove a slice of tissue (removes tumor, and a small amount of surrounding tissue,) Pneumonectomy removing the whole lung, and Sleeve resection removing part of the bronchus. Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells, two types of radiation therapy are used; External (radiation therapy) uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer.
Internal (radiation therapy) uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer. Another form of lung cancer treatment is laser therapy which uses a laser beam to kill cancer cells. Finally the last form of cancer treatment is Chemotherapy, which uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, by either killing or stopping cancer cells from dividing. Before I move on to my conclusion, I wanted readers to fully understand the seriousness of having lung cancer. So I will leave readers with a comment from a person suffering from lung cancer; I was diagnosed September 2009 with non small cell lung cancer, had left lung resectioned November, started chemotherapy December 2009, continued through February 2010, and had radiation on chest May and June 2010. Had seizures in September 2010, the cancer moved to my brain and I had 10 radiation treatments, I was told I am terminal but not actually given a time; I am doing pretty well. I smoked for 46years. I was originally diagnosed in June 2009 with rheumatoid arthritis; my doctor said I was too fit and active to be worried about cancer. ” (Robyn, 2011) IV.
Conclusion. Here is something to think about; Lung cancer is the number-one cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in the U. S. and worldwide. Smoking cigarettes is the principal risk factor for development of lung cancer, even passive exposure to tobacco smoke also can cause lung cancer. The prognosis for lung cancer is poor, with overall survival rates of about 16% at five years. That last sentence should scare the hell out of anyone considering smoking. Remember if you are smoking (QUIT), if you are considering smoking (Don’t). You see, there are some things we can do to prevent lung cancer.