All You Need to Know About Lung Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in America, taking more lives each year than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined. It is the leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States, surpassing the dreaded breast cancer.
The most common cause of lung cancer is long term exposure to tobacco smoke. Three to five years after quitting, the risk of getting lung cancer is reduced by half. For smokers the risk is significant due to the synergistic effects of radon and smoking as well as asbestos exposure.
As dirt and smoke chemicals build up in your lungs, you have a higher change of getting lung cancer. Even non-smokers are not spared. People who constantly inhale secondhand smoke will also be likely to develop lung cancer.
Overall, this type of cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to treat and it is no wonder that it is the major cause of cancer death in the world. Lung cancer can generally be categorized as small cell cancer and non-small cancer. Non-small cell cancer is more common while small cell cancer is harder to treat because it generally spreads faster.
Lung cancer is very difficult to detect at an early stage, some symptoms may include a new or changing cough, along with hoarseness or shortness of breath or increased shortness of breath during exertion. Sadly, this type of cancer are usually detected only at late stage, and this greatly limit the treatments that is applicable to treat it.
Once lung cancer is detected, a treatment plan is developed based on the patient’s physical health, whether the cancer is small cell or non-small cell and how extensively the cancer has spread.
Treatments usually involve surgery to remove the cancer cells and surrounding affected cells depends on how far the cancer has metasized.
In chemotherapy, drugs are given orally or through the vein to combat cancer cells. Chemotherapy is called a systemic treatment because the drug enters the blood stream, travels through the body, and can kill cancer cells outside the lungs.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external radiation therapy) or from putting colloidal materials that emit radiation (radioisotopes) through thin plastic tubes in the area where the cancer cells are found (internal radiation therapy).
Surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are used to treat non-small cell lung cancer. These are mainstream treatments used by many doctors in medical institution. However, patients that have exhausted these treatments often look for other options in alternative treatments, and often with encouraging results.
Increasingly, more and more people turn to alternative treatment that reverse cancer through diet and lifestyle change. These treatments are usually inexpensive and aimed at repairing cancer cells instead of killing them.