Lung cancer: Symptoms, treatment and causes

Lung cancer: Symptoms, treatment and causes

Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious types of cancer.
There are usually no signs or symptoms in the early stages of lung cancer, but many people with the condition will eventually develop symptoms including:
a persistent cough
coughing up blood
persistent breathlessness
unexplained tiredness and weight loss
an ache or pain when breathing or coughing
You should see your DOCTOR if you have these symptoms.

Types of lung cancer
Cancer that begins in the lungs is called primary lung cancer. Cancer that begins in another part of the body and spreads to the lungs is known as secondary lung cancer. This page is about primary lung cancer.There are two main types of primary lung cancer.
These are classified by the type of cells in which the cancer starts. They are: non-small-cell lung cancer – the most common type, accounting for more than 80% of cases; can be either squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma or large-cell carcinoma  small-cell lung cancer – a less common type that usually spreads faster than non-small-cell lung cancerThe type of lung cancer you have will determine which treatments are recommended.

Who is affected

Lung cancer mainly affects older people. It is rare in people younger than 40, but the rates of lung cancer rise sharply with age. Lung cancer is most commonly diagnosed in people aged 70-74 years.

Although people who have never smoked can develop lung cancer, smoking is the main cause (about 90% of cases). This is because smoking involves regularly inhaling a number of different toxic substances. New therapy for lung cancer

Treating lung cancer

The treatment for lung cancer depends on the type of cancer, how far it has spread and how good your general health is.

If the condition is diagnosed early and the cancerous cells are confined to a small area, surgery to remove the affected area of lung is usually recommended.

If surgery is unsuitable due to your general health, radiotherapy to destroy the cancerous cells may be recommended instead.

If the cancer has spread too far for surgery or radiotherapy to be effective, chemotherapy is usually used.


As lung cancer does not usually cause noticeable symptoms until it has spread through much of the lungs or into other parts of the body, the outlook for the condition is not as good as many other types of cancer.

Overall, about 1 in 3 people with the condition will live for at least a year after they are diagnosed and fewer than 1 in 10 people will live at least five years.

However, survival rates can vary widely depending on how far the cancer has spread at the time of the diagnosis. Early diagnosis can make a big difference.

The lungs

The lungs have two main purposes: to transfer oxygen into the blood when you breathe in
to expel carbon dioxide out of the blood when you breathe out

The lungs are made up of a series of sections called lobes. The left lung consists of two lobes. The right lung is larger and consists of three lobes. Source

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