When cells grow out of control in the body a disease occurs that is known as Cancer. Typically when cancer grows inside the lungs it is known as Lung Cancer.

Lung cancer starts in the lung and spreads to lymphatic nodes or other bodily organs including the brain. The lungs also can transmit cancer from other organs. The cells are called metastases when they propagate from one organ to another.


There are two main type of lung cancer each with different treatments;

  1. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

NSCLC accounts for around 80 to 85% of lung malignancies. Adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and giant cell carcinoma are the main subtypes of NSCLC. Those subtypes starting with various types of lung cells are combined under NSCLC because of the typically identical therapy and prognosis (opinion).

Adenocarcinoma typically starts in the mucus producing cells. It is usually found in the outer part of the lungs and is diagnosed before it gets spread. It is common in people who smoke and is more common in women than men.

Squamous cell carcinoma begins on the interior of the airways of the lungs inside the squamous cells which are flat cells. They are typically connected with smoking history and are seen near a major airway in the middle portion of the lung (bronchus).

Large cell carcinoma can appear in any part of the lung. It grows and spreads fast, making it more difficult to cure.

  1. Small cell lung cancer (SCLC)

It is sometimes known as oat cell cancer. It consists of about 10 to 15% of all the lung cancers. This type spreads faster than NSCLC. Roughly 70% of SCLC individuals will be diagnosed with cancer that has already spread. As cancer develops rapidly, chemotherapy and radiation therapy tends to respond properly.


Most of the lung cancers are caused by smoking. However, non-smokers may also develop this disease. Other causes may include;

  • Smoking

70% of the lung cancer cases are due to smoking. Smoke from tobacco includes more than 60 distinct toxins proven to be cancerous. You are 25 times more likely to acquire lung cancer than a non- smoking person if you smoke more than 25 cigarettes each day. Smoking tobacco can also raise you chance of having lung cancer and other kind of cancer such as the esophagus and the mouth cancer including the products such as pipe, cigar tobacco, chewing tobacco etc.

  • Passive smoking

If you don’t smoke but get exposed to the smoke of another smoker then you are at a risk of developing lung cancer.

  • Radon

Radon is a radioactive natural gas that is produced by small quantities of uranium found in rock and soil. If you breathe in it can damage your lungs.

  • Occupational exposure to pollution

Exposure to certain chemicals and compounds used in certain industries and activities may raise your risk of lung cancer. The chemicals may include arsenic, silica, nickel coke and coke fumes etc.

  • Genes

From one generation to another, families transmit genes. This includes defective genes that prevent your cells from fixing damaged DNA, and others that prevent your body from removing carcinogenic substances.

Signs and Symptoms

Following are the signs and symptoms of lung cancer:

  • A non-quitting cough

A cold or respiratory illness may go away within a week or so, but a lingering cough may be an indication of lung cancer. If you cough more often and see coughing blood or full mucus you need to see you doctor as soon as possible.

  • Breathing changes or wheezes

If your airways are tight, obstructed or irritated, the lungs may whisper or produce a whistling sound when you respire.

  • Body pain

Cancer of the lungs can lead to chest, shoulders or back pain. Tell your doctor whether it’s acute, sluggish, persistent or intermittent, if you feel any kind of chest discomfort. You also need to notice whether it is contained or throughout your chest in a certain location. Back pain increases with time and bone pain may get worst at night. Headaches may be a sign that lung cancer has spread to brain (not in all cases).

  • Raspy, hoarse voice

A simple cold can produce rough sound, but if it lingers, this symptom may be more serious. Lung-related hoarseness can develop when the tumor affects the larynx or the voice-box.

  • Weight loss

A drastic loss in weight up to 10 pounds is a sign of lung cancer associated with other symptoms. The drop in weight may result from the cancer cells utilizing the body’s energy.

SCLC shows no early symptom but when it spreads to other parts of the body other than lungs then the body may experience bloody mucus, shortness of breath, chest pain etc.


The treatment is specific and is based on body requirements and must be based on:

  • Age, overall health and medical history
  • Type of lung cancer
  • Extent of disease
  • Your tolerance for specific medication
  • Your opinion or preference

The treatments may include;

  • Surgery

Part of the treatment for lung cancer is surgery to remove the tumour from the lungs. A lengthy chest incision called as thoracotomy is performed in several operations. Early-stage tumours may be treated using VCS, which employs numerous little (instead of one big) incisions.

Types of surgeries include:

Segmental resection: only a small part of lung is removed

Lobectomy: entire lobe of the lung is removed

Pneumonectomy: removal of an entire lung

Sleeve resection: Removal of a bronchial portion, following which the lung is connected to the rest of the bronchus

  • Radiation Therapy

With the use of high-energy radiation the cancer cells can be killed and tumors can be shrunken.

  • Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy spreads all across the body to seek out tumor cells. In most situations, chemical treatment is performed through an IV infusion. Chemotherapy works by affecting the capacity of cancer cells to grow or replicate. Various classes of medicines attack cancer cells in different ways. A treatment plan must be recommended by the oncologist for each person.