Lung cancer accounts for 15% of all cancer related death in the United States. The majority of individual who develops lung cancer have been cigarette smokers, but not all who smoke get lung cancer.
There are two main types of lung cancer: small cell and non-small cell. The type of cancer depends of what types of cells are found in the tumor.
- Small cell carcinoma (also called oat cell carcinoma): this usually starts in one of the larger breathing tubes. The growth rate is fairly rapid and when diagnosis the size of the tumor is large.
- Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC): This is made of the following 3 subtypes:
- Epidermoid carcinoma also known as squamous cell carcinoma: tumor begin growing in one of the larger breathing tubes and grows at a relatively slow pace. The size of these tumors can vary from very small to quiet large.
- Adenocarcinoma : the tumor starts growing near the outside surface of the lung and may vary in both size and growth rate. This kind of slow growing tumor is also called alveolar cell cancer.
- Large cell caracinoma: the tumor begins growing near the surface of the lung and grows rapidly. When diagnosed the size is usually quite large.
Other uncommon types of lung cancers are carcinoid, cylindroma, mucoepidermodi and malignant mesothelioma. They approximately account for 5% to 10% of lung cancers types.
One quarter of the people who develop lung cancer show no symptoms or sign when their cancer is diagnosed. These cancers are usually discovered incidentally when a chest x-ray is done for unrelated purpose. The other three quarters of people will show symptoms or signs of some kind. The symptoms are due to direct effects of the primary tumor, to the effects of metastatic tumors in other parts of the body, or to malignant disturbances of their hormones, blood, or other systems.
In the early stages of lung cancer, it does not show any symptoms or sign. When symptoms occur, the cancer is often advanced. Symptoms and signs that you might notice are:
- Persistent cough or chronic cough
- Chest, shoulder, or back pain or a combination
- Shortness of breath
- Repeated bouts of pneumonia or bronchitis
- Coughing up blood
- Swelling and pain in the neck and face
- Weight loss and loss of appetite
- Fever without a known reason
If you experience any of the above lung cancer symptoms it is advised that you see your healthcare provider for a more thorough check so the proper diagnose and treatment can be apply.
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