What Is Lung Cancer, and How Common Is It?
What Is Lung Cancer?
When an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells begins to form within the lungs, it is commonly known as lung cancer. The lungs are made up of cells that cause either growth promotion, or growth suppression, and are programmed by nature to form in a certain shape, and to function in a certain way. However, when these cells become damaged by either internal or external changes within the body, the bodies programming usually begins to go wrong.
When growth promoting cells either lose their ability to promote growth, or the growth of these cells is accelerated, the growth suppression cells no longer pay attention to the bodies tumor suppression cells. This in turn causes the cells to multiply at an accelerated rate with all disregard to how nature programmed them to function correctly. As the cell acceleration begins to take place, the outer tissues of the lungs are also invaded by cancerous cells, as are other nearby tissues.
This change enables the cancer in the lungs to spread with relative ease to other organs within the body. Because of the relatively large size of the lungs, lung cancer usually continues to grow for many years without showing any common signs, or symptoms. When the lung cancer finally gets diagnosed, usually after a doctor has ordered a chest X-ray associated with another illness, the disease is found to be in its final stages, and in need of urgent treatment.
How Common Is Lung Cancer?
Cancer of the lungs is now one of the most common cancers diagnosed around the world, and accounts for over 200,000 new cases each year in the USA alone. Today’s statistics show that lung cancer now affects both men and women equally, where as some years back the cases diagnosed in women were much less. This may be put down to the fact that more and more women are now smoking. Since 1987, lung cancer has also been found to be much more common in women than breast cancer.
Most people who get diagnosed with lung cancer are either active smokers, or ex-smokers who have now given up. But also, many other people who have never directly smoked get diagnosed with the disease too. In recent years, mortality rates have increased 150% in women, and 25% in men, with studies showing that estrogen, may even help the disease to grow, increasing the risk of it developing in women.