The symptoms of lung cancer, which is the most common cause of death among cancer types in the world, usually do not appear at an early stage. The incidence of lung cancer, which progresses insidiously, is increasing in parallel with the increasing consumption of cigarettes.
Apart from environmental and genetic factors, the risk of lung cancer increases as the duration and frequency of smoking increase. The treatment of lung cancer, for which early diagnosis is of great importance, is planned according to the type, stage and patient of the tumor. Memorial Ankara Hospital Chest Diseases Department Prof. Dr. Metin Özkan gave information about lung cancer and ways to prevent it. Every cigarette smoked brings people closer to lung cancer
People who smoke have a high risk of lung cancer, but lung cancer can also occur in people who have never smoked. Quitting smoking after many years of smoking significantly reduces the risk of lung cancer. Other factors that cause lung cancer are as follows:
- Asbestos, which is used in industries such as construction, ships, insulation and automotive, and can be found in the soil
- Radon gas, which is found in the natural structure of the soil, in the soil and rocks at the foundation of buildings
- Exposure to cancer-causing chemicals such as uranium, beryllium, vinyl chloride, nickel chromate, coal products, mustard gas, chlormethyl ethers, petroleum products
- Having a history of lung cancer in a close relative
- High levels of air pollution
- High arsenic content of drinking water
- Radiation therapy to the lungs
Take the cough seriously and see a doctor
Lung cancer typically may not cause signs and symptoms in its early stages. Since most patients smoke, cough, which is one of the first symptoms, is attributed to smoking and they do not need to go to the doctor. However, cough, chest, shoulder and back pain, sputum production, bloody sputum and blood spitting, shortness of breath, hoarseness, swallowing disorder, swelling in the neck and face, drooping eyelids, wheezing and recurrent bronchitis or pneumonia due to the tumor in the lung attacks are among the symptoms of lung cancer. However, if the tumor spreads outside the lung, the following complaints may also be seen.
- Nausea, vomiting
- Balance disorder, fainting, memory loss
- Subcutaneous swellings
- Bone or joint pain, bone fractures
- general malaise
- Bleeding, coagulation disorders
- Loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss
- cachexia (muscle wasting)
Chest radiography and tomography are important for diagnosis.
In order for the diagnosis of lung cancer to be made, first of all, chest X-ray and, if necessary, lung tomography are taken for people with symptoms and complaints. However, in the presence of cough and sputum in the patient, sputum examination under the microscope called "Sputum cytology" can sometimes reveal the presence of lung cancer cells.
Cancer diagnosis with bronchoscopy and fine needle biopsy
In doubtful cases, a biopsy should be taken. A biopsy, that is, taking a piece, is done with a procedure called "bronchoscopy". In this procedure, by using a lighted tube passing from the throat to the lungs, the abnormal areas of the lungs are examined and pieces are taken from the suspicious areas. If the suspicious tumor seen on tomography is in the outer part of the lungs, biopsy can be taken by entering with a fine needle under the guidance of ultrasonography or tomography. This procedure can also be done from the lymph nodes or liver in cases where the cancer has spread. After the diagnosis of cancer, the specialist physician may request tomography, MRI, positron emission tomography (PET) and bone scans to determine the stage of the cancer.
Treatment is planned according to the type, stage and patient of the tumor.
In lung cancer, a treatment plan is made considering the type and stage of the tumor and the general condition of the patient. Correct staging is essential for the correct treatment of lung cancer. Treatment also varies depending on the type of cancer. Lung cancer can be divided into two main types as small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer. According to the stage of the disease in these species; surgical removal of the tumor, chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy are applied. In some cases, these treatments can also be applied together. The most effective treatment method for lung cancer caught at an early stage is surgical removal of the tumor.
Ways to prevent lung cancer
Lung cancer is a preventable disease. The most important cause of lung cancer is the use of tobacco and tobacco products. For this reason, the most important factor in preventing the disease is to prevent starting smoking and for smokers to quit smoking.
Care should be taken against radiation exposure.
Avoiding exposure to asbestos, radon, harmful gases and chemicals can reduce the risk of cancer. Persons with asbestos fibers around or in the workplace breathing air should wear professional protective respirators.
It is important to stay away from areas where air pollution is intense.
Establishing a healthy diet and increasing physical activity are among the ways to prevent lung cancer.