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Information and Often Submitted Inquiries About Lung Cancer

Sep 11, 2008
For answers to your questions and facts about lung cancer, read on for details about causes of the disease, how it's treated and how it can be prevented.

Is there more than one type of lung cancer?

There are two types of lung cancer - non-small cell and small cell lung cancer. The two types are distinguishable because of how the cancer cells expand, grow and spread throughout the body.

There are three types of non-small cell lung cancer (the most common form of lung cancer). They are adenocarcinoma, squamus cell carcinoma, and large-cell carcinoma. Though rarer, small cell lung cancer occurs in approximately a quarter of all people diagnosed with lung cancer.

Can I prevent lung cancer?

There are three ways to prevent lung cancer - quit smoking, avoid second-hand smoke and stay away from air-borne carcinogens at work. If you're concerned about your risk of developing lung cancer, avoiding tobacco smoke is typically your best defense.

What are the major causes of lung cancer?

The primary cause of lung cancer in most cases is smoking tobacco products. Of all the facts about lung cancer, this is the most critical and apparent. The carcinogens in tobacco smoke will damage cells. Other causes include exposure to carcinogens like asbestos or radon. Genetics may also play a role in the prevalence of the disease.

How do doctors detect lung cancer?

The early stages of lung cancer typically don't exhibit any symptoms. The only sure-fire way to detect the disease is with a chest X-ray.

For a confident diagnosis, a biopsy is required. When a doctor performs a biopsy, he or she removes a small amount of tissue from the lung to test it for cancerous cells.

Does lung cancer have any symptoms?

Most lung cancer symptoms don't appear until after the disease has reached the later stages. That said, the symptoms include constant coughing or wheezing, loss of appetite, chest pains, upper abdomen pains, bronchitis or pneumonia, blood being coughed up, general fatigue, a persistent hoarse voice and a dry, sore throat.

Can lung cancer be treated and how?

Lung cancer can be treated, but the treatments will depend on how far advanced the disease has progressed, the patient's strength and the type of lung cancer. Lung cancer is typically treated with one of - or a combination of - chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery.

Is mesothelioma a type of lung cancer?

Mesothelioma is a rare form of lung cancer that is typically caused by asbestos exposure. The disease attacks the delicate skin lining of the lungs, and tumors form.

Are men or women more at risk?

Female smokers are twice as likely to develop lung cancer than male smokers.

I'm older and a smoker, will quitting really help me?

Yes, quitting at any age can help prevent lung cancer. The risk of developing lung cancer is reduced dramatically each year a person smokes - whether that person is 20 or 70. Of all the facts about lung cancer, probably the most saddening is that the majority of cases are preventable.
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