Lung Cancer

Last updated date: 15-May-2023

Originally Written in English

Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer 

Lung cancer is a chronic health condition and the major cause of cancer-related death globally. Typically, it’s a form of cancer that normally begins and affects the lungs. The lungs are the pair of spongy organs located in the chest. It’s responsible for taking in oxygen during inhalation and releasing carbon dioxide during exhalation. 

Lung cancer usually develops when the cells in the lungs divide out of control, resulting in the growth of tumors. With time, it limits the ability to breathe normally and spread to various parts of the body. Overall, early diagnosis and treatment are essential to prevent more complications. 


Types of Lung Cancer 

Medical experts often categorize lung cancer according to the appearance and structure of the cells on the microscope. They can also develop a treatment plan based on the specific type of lung cancer the patient has. 

In general, the main types of lung cancer are; 

Small cell lung cancer: This type of lung cancer often develops in almost every heavy smoker. It’s, however, less prevalent, unlike non-small cell lung cancer. 

Non-small cell lung cancer: This is an umbrella term for a range of lung cancers, including adenocarcinoma, large cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. 


Causes of Lung Cancer 

Every patient is at risk of getting lung cancer. However, approximately 90 percent of lung cancer conditions occur as a result of excessive smoking. As soon as you start inhaling smoke into the lungs, it gradually starts causing damages to the tissues. 

Although the lungs are capable of repairing the damages, constant exposure to smoke can interfere. This makes it hard for the lungs to maintain repair function. Therefore, if the cells get damaged, they start functioning abnormally, which increases the chances of lung cancer. 

Another cause of lung cancer is prolonged exposure to radon. Radon refers to naturally existing radioactive gas that can get into the building via cracks on the walls. Therefore, if a smoker gets exposed to these gases, the chances of developing lung cancer increase. 

Lastly, prolonged exposure to various hazardous contents can increase the risk of suffering lung cancer. Exposure to a substance known as asbestos can result in a type of lung cancer known as mesothelioma. 

Other additional components that can trigger lung cancer include; 

  • Chromium 
  • Arsenic 
  • Uranium 
  • Cadmium 
  • Petroleum products 
  • Nickel 

In some cases, inheritable gene mutation can increase the risks of developing lung cancer. It’s more intense, especially for smokers and patients exposed to carcinogens. 


Signs and Symptoms of Cancer 

In most cases, lung cancer doesn’t come with any signs or symptoms, especially during the early stage. However, you may experience some symptoms with time as the condition advances. 

Some of the common lung cancer symptoms can include the following; 

  • Shortness of breath 
  • Headache 
  • A persistent cough that doesn’t disappear 
  • Chest pain 
  • Coughing up blood 
  • Unexplainable weight loss 
  • Hoarseness 
  • Bone pain 


Lung Cancer Diagnosis 

If the doctor notices signs and symptoms that might indicate lung cancer, they can order some tests and procedures. This is to analyze the issue further and determine if its malignancy. 

Therefore, some of the common diagnostic tests and procedures of lung cancer include; 

Imaging tests:

Imaging tests

The doctor can recommend an imaging test to view and assess an abnormal mass or growth in the lungs. An imaging test also generates more detailed images of the lungs. This makes it easy to identify abnormal masses and small lesions. 

Examples of imaging tests or procedures include; 

  • Chest x-ray 
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test 
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan 
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan 

Tissue sample:

A diagnostic procedure to remove a small sample of the abnormal tissue or cells is referred to as a biopsy. The doctor can conduct a biopsy in several ways, such as; 

  • Bronchoscopy: This involves passing a lighted tube down the throat towards the lungs to assess the abnormal parts of the lungs. 
  • Mediastinoscopy: This involves creating an incision at the bottom of the neck. The doctor will insert surgical equipment behind the breastbone to remove tissue samples in the lymph nodes.
  • Needle biopsy: This involves the use of CT scans or X-ray images. It enables the doctor to guide and direct a needle via the chest wall into the lungs to extract suspicious cell samples.

Sputum cytology: 

Doctors usually recommend this method if the patient has a cough associate with sputum production. It involves analyzing the sputum using a microscope to the chest for the lung cancer cells. 


Lung Cancer Treatment Options 

There are various treatment options that doctors can use to address lung cancer. However, the treatment usually depends on several factors such as;

  • The type of lung cancer 
  • The tumor or lesion location and the specific stage of cancer 
  • The overall health of the patient 
  • The patient’s preference and choices 

Overall, the lung cancer treatment options can include the following; 


Depending on the extent and severity of lung cancer, a surgical procedure can be necessary to remove the tumors. It can also involve the removal of some healthy surrounding tissues to prevent the spread of cancer. 

Examples of surgical procedure to take out lung cancer are; 

  • Segmental resection 
  • Wedge resection 
  • Lobectomy 
  • Pneumonectomy 


This is a common treatment option that uses certain drugs to destroy cancerous cells. The doctor can administer one or more medications intravenously via the vein in the arm or orally through the mouth. 

Radiation therapy: 

This involves the use of high-energy beams from various sources, including protons and x-rays, to destroy the cancerous cells. The radiation energy is usually directed into specific affected areas of the body. 

Targeted drug therapy: 

This treatment form focuses on certain abnormalities or defects in the cancerous cells. It blocks the anomalies, hence killing the cancer cells. Although targeted therapy medications help treat lung cancer, most are usually reserved for patients with recurring or advanced conditions. 


This involves the use of the immune system to prevent and fight cancerous cells. Usually, lung cancer hinders the body's immune system from fighting the cells since the cancerous cells release proteins that enable them to conceal from the defense mechanism cells. Therefore, immunotherapy treatment works by altering such a process. 

Stereotactic body radiography: 

This treatment method is also called radiosurgery. It’s a form of radiation treatment that focuses a range of radiation beams at cancer at different angles. 

Palliative care: 

Lung cancer is often associated with chronic symptoms and adverse side effects that come with treatment. Palliative care is thus a medical specialty that aims at reducing these symptoms and managing side effects. 

It’s, however, essential to note that all forms of lung cancer treatment carry a range of minor to chronic side effects. As such, you should first talk with your doctor regarding the most effective treatment choice and associated benefits and cons. 


Complications of Lung Cancer 

Complications of Lung Cancer 

Lung cancer is usually associated with several risks and complications, including; 

Shortness of breath: Most lung cancer patients often experience shortness of breath, especially as the cancer advances and blocks the main air paths. Over time, lung cancer can also trigger fluid accumulation within the lungs. This makes it difficult for the lungs to expand entirely during inhalation. 

Pain: With time, lung cancer can result in severe pain around the chest cavity. This occurs as the condition advances and metastasizes to lung lining and other parts of the body, including the bone. Therefore, it’s essential always to consult a physician if you feel any pain in the chest. Besides, there are various treatment forms to address such lung cancer-associated pain. 

Hemoptysis: Sometimes, lung cancer can trigger bleeding along the air path, resulting in hemoptysis. Hemoptysis is a situation where you cough up blood which can either be in small quantity or excessively. It’s thus essential to see a doctor if you notice traces of blood in your coughs. This is because there are treatment options to control such lung bleeding. 

Pleural effusion (fluid around the chest): Lung cancer can result in fluid accumulation between the affected lung spaces within the chest cavity. When excess fluid accumulates in the chest, it can lead to shortness of breath. Your doctor can thus recommend certain treatments to help drain the stagnant fluid in the chest. This also minimizes the risks of pleural effusion recurrence. 

Lung cancer that metastasizes or spread to various body parts: In most cases, lung cancer develops and metastasizes or stretches to other body parts, including the bones and the brain. The type of cancer that usually spreads triggers various associated symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and pain, among others. However, the associated signs and symptoms can vary based on the affected organ and tissues. In such cases, the doctor can administer treatment to help ease the chronic symptoms. This also enables you to live a longer, healthier life. 



Lung cancer is a type of cancer that begins and affects the lungs. It usually occurs when the body cells grow and divide uncontrollably due to various underlying reasons. If not addressed on time, the cancer cells can spread to the surrounding tissues and organs. This can trigger more complications and sometimes cause death. 

CloudHospital is dedicated to helping patients with all kinds of lung cancer. It works with several medical experts who specialize in diagnosing, treating, managing, and preventing lung cancer. They also work to ensure a successful recovery and to avoid recurrence in the future.