Lung Cancer

Humans breathe in oxygen to sustain his bodily functions. The lungs are only some of the few organs that a person cannot live without. When these organs are abused and exposed to harmful conditions, they become unable to sustain our state of health. Lung cancer is ranked as the leader in cancer-related deaths as of this date. In 2007 alone, the American Cancer Society estimates over 210,000 new cases of lung cancer, with approximately 160,000 deaths to be caused by the disease per year.

The incidence of this condition is more prevalent among males than females. As a matter of fact, about one third of the male world population smokes, which highly attributes the disease to cigarette smoking, according to the World Health Organization. On a global note, cigarette smoking and lung cancer are already causes for alarm. China is also referred to as the largest tobacco producer in the world, while in Japan, lung cancer is said to be the cause of the most cancer-related deaths. In the United States, New York and Texas are the states with the most new cases of lung cancer per year.

Aside from cigarette smoke, there are already other causes to which lung cancer is linked to. Occupational hazards, such as exposure to air pollution, radiation, chemicals, and heavy metals can put people at high risk for lung cancer. It has also been noted that cigarette smokers are not the only people who are potential lung cancer victims, as second hand smoke also contains over 15 carcinogens. People who are often around smokers put themselves at risk as well.

What are the symptoms of a person who has lung cancer? This disease, when not diagnosed at an early stage, can rapidly spread to other organs, according to many medical sources. Coughing is the number one symptom, but many patients are not alarmed by this because it may seem very normal, especially to smokers. When coughing becomes persistent, when sputum becomes bloody, and when the condition is accompanied by chest pains, a patient should be given medical attention right away. If the cancer or the tumour has progressed to fatal levels, lung tissue may collapse or lose function, a condition called atelactasis.

At present, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are being used to treat patients with lung cancer. Some of the drugs used are Tarceva and Avastin. But the success and recovery rate highly depends on the cancer stage at which it is detected. There are also situations when surgery is performed, by removing portions of the lung tissue that has been affected by the growth of the tumour.

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