November is the Lung Cancer Awareness Month. This month is observed globally on annual basis.
Lung cancer awareness month is observed to raise people’s awareness towards lung cancer, its prevention, detection, and treatment.
Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death worldwide, accounting for about 1.8 million deaths each year. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than colon, breast, and prostate cancers.
Thankfully, new technologies are gaining success in the lung cancer treatments, such as next-generation sequencing (NGS) and unlocking are new insights to drive a better future.
Sadly, despite much substantial increase in treatment options, lung cancer remains the most common cause of cancer death worldwide.
The drawback in the detection of lung cancer is that it is diagnosed when it has already on the higher stage that is on the last stage which is the 4th stage. The last stage is the extent of the spread of cancer in the body. If the cancer is diagnosed at an earlier stage, there is a greater chance of survival of the patient.
In order to improve the situation, there is an ongoing intense and large-scale translational and clinical researcher taking place more frequently.
By educating and acknowledging the severity of this issue we can easily get the best preventive measures in protecting ourselves and the people around us.
ABOUT LUNG CANCER: Forms of lung cancer; There are two primary forms of lung cancer. They are;
- SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER: This is the most common form of the disease.
- NON-SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER: This form of cancer is found to be 85% of all lung cancers.
CAUSES OF LUNG CANCER: Cancer is a very serious disease, which is caused by many factors. Cancer results in an unconstrained growth of a clone of cancer cells. Lung cancer has many risk factors, which are;
FAMILY HISTORY: Genes play a role in the development of cancer. This disease is found to be hereditary. You have more risk of having lung cancer if your parents, brother, or sister had lung cancer.
RADIATION THERAPY: Air pollution, which may include radiations contribute to asthma, COPD, lung cancer, and other lung diseases.
ASBESTOS EXPOSURE: When a person is exposed to asbestos fiber, it reaches the lungs and causes chronic inflammation. This inflammation degenerates after many years into lung cancer.
EXPOSURE TO RADON: Radon is a naturally occurring colorless gas. This gas is formed by the decay of a radioactive material known as radium atoms. The gas leaks from the earth and enters into homes and offices through cracks and openings in building foundations.
SMOKING: The most common and the leading cause of lung cancer is smoking cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Smoke is a potent carcinogen.
SYMPTOMS OF LUNG CANCER: There are no prominent signs and symptoms in the initial stages of having lung cancer. The distinguishing indications of lung cancer only appear in the later stages, the symptoms include:
*Persistent coughing, *Phlegm discharge with blood, Difficulty breathing *Acute discomfort in chest, Sudden loss of weight *Bone pain and tenderness *Headaches *shortness of breath and wheezing
TREATMENT: Although cancer is curable it strictly depends on the stage cancer has been diagnosed. Researchers have come out with many effective treatments that are allowing many people to live with lung cancer longer.
The problem with the treatment of cancer is that people do not know they have lung cancer until it has advanced beyond an early stage.
our screening system for lung cancer includes waiting until you had symptoms of the cancer, which most commonly occurs late in the disease, with high stage disease, and having little or no chance of cure. The patients who are diagnosed earlier can easily be cured.
Treatment depends on various factors, including The type of cancer, The location, and stage, The person’s overall health, Their individual preferences, Some treatment options include:
SURGERY: During surgery, all the damaged or affected part of the lung is removed.
CHEMOTHERAPY: Chemotherapy is one of the most common treatment options for cancers. During this therapy, a drug is given to kill cancer cells and to help tumors shrink.
RADIATION THERAPY: This type of treatment is used to treat cancer with the use of radiation or high-energy rays to kill cancerous cells.
RADIOFREQUENCY ABLATION: During the process of radiofrequency ablation the doctor inserts a thin needle and uses an electric current to destroy cancer cells.
TARGETED THERAPY: This treatment method is used to target a specific behavior to prevent tumor growth.
IMMUNOTHERAPY: This treatment helps the body fight cancer cells.
Type of treatments administered is totally dependent on the type of lung cancer. The type small cell lung cancer is mainly treated with the help of chemotherapy. Radiotherapy is also an option to tear this type of cancer.
The nonsmall cell lung cancer type can be treated with the help of surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or a combination of these; depending on the stage the cancer is being diagnosed. Some people who have the advanced lung cancers may have been treated with the biological therapy.
DETECTION: Early detection of lung cancer helps in the survival of the patient.
Chest x-rays are done for, Early detection but it’s not very helpful. A new test known as a low-dose?CT (LDCT) ?scan is also done, this test is a new one because it has recentlye been researched and it is used for people at higher risk of getting lung cancer. These scans help to detect the abnormal areas found in the lungs due to cancer. This scan is a promising test because this scan is for people at higher risk of lung cancer.
Many patients who have a history of smoking are eligible for this CT Lung Cancer Screening.
Lung Cancer Awareness Month is an opportunity for us to celebrate our collective progress in developing and delivering innovative treatments to people living with lung cancer.
To defeat this deadly disease we need to take some serious steps which can help early diagnosis, innovative treatment methods, quality of care, and survivorship.
This month we are looking forward to raising awareness among the masses about this disease and working for the support we can offer to those who are fighting this disease.
During Lung Cancer Awareness Month, we want to spread awareness and wants the researchers to focus on the best possible treatment options which can potentially change the outcome for many battling with this disease.
It’s an important and critical area for cancer research. (by/ Syeda Sundeela Fayyaz, Master in Microbiology)
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