MEMBERS (Marlin, Emily, Kyle, Matthew)



CANCER: Lung Cancer

What is lung cancer?
Lung cancer begins when the cells in the lung grow out of control. Those cells will eventually build up and make a mass called a tumor.

Where is lung cancer located?
(Really? I mean come on, really?)
It's located in the lungs.

Who is at risk?
Anyone who smokes tobacco--including cigarette, cigar, and pipe smoking--is the most important risk factor for lung cancer. Most lung cancer occurs in people who smoke or smoked in the past.

Being exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke is also a risk factor for lung cancer. Secondhand smoke is the smoke that comes from a burning cigarette or other tobacco product, or that is exhaled by smokers. People who inhale secondhand smoke are exposed to the same cancer-causing agents as smokers, although in smaller amounts.

Environmental Risk Factors include radon, asbestos, air pollution, and other things like arsenic, chromium, nickel, tar, and soot.

How is lung cancer diagnosed?
If a doctor suspects lung cancer, he or she will:
  • Ask about your medical history
  • Perform a physical examination
  • Order specialized medical tests
As part of taking your medical history, your doctor will ask about:
  • Whether you smoke or have smoked in the past
  • Your occupation
  • Whether you have been exposed to certain occupational hazardous substances or radiation
  • Whether you have a family history of lung cancer
Medical tests that may be performed include:
  • Chest x-ray. This is the first and basic test that will be ordered.
  • CT or MRI scans. These are highly specialized tests with computer-generated images showing slices and other views of the lung.
  • Sputum test. This is the examination under a microscopy of a sample of the mucus you cough up. If an abnormality seen on an x-ray is suggestive of cancer, a sputum test may be ordered. Though this test is not usually as sensitive as a biopsy, in many cases microscopic examination of the expectorated cells will reveal cancer.
  • Biopsy. This is the removal of a sample of tissue from the body to be examined under a microscopy. A biopsy is the usual way that the doctor can be absolutely certain that lung cancer is present. A physician who specializes in tissue analysis (a pathologist) can then see what type of cell is causing the growth and whether or not it is a cancerous cell.

Are there any stages of lung cancer? If so, explain them.
There are two different kinds of lung cancer, and they each have certain stages. These two are NSCLC (non-small cell lung cancer) and SCLC (small cell lung cancer).
NSCLC stages are assigned from 1-4 in order of severity.

  • In stage I, the cancer is confined to the lung.
  • In stages II and III, the cancer is confined to the chest (with larger and more invasive tumors classified as stage III).
  • Stage IV cancer has spread away from the chest to other parts of the body.

SCLC are staged using a two-tiered system:
  • Limited stage (LS) SCLC refers to cancer that is confined to its area of origin in the chest.
  • In extensive-stage (ES) SCLC, the cancer has spread beyond the chest to other parts of the body.
What are the signs of lung cancer?
Common symptoms of lung cancer inlcude:
  • Fatigue (Tiredness)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain, if a tumor invades a structure within the chest or involves the lining of the lung
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing up phlegm or mucus
  • Coughing up blood, called hemoptysis.
How can I prevent lung cancer?
The best way to prevent lung cancer is to not smoke at all. Most diseases involving cancer are due to smoking. If you do not smoke, your chances of getting cancer will decrease substantially.
Another way to prevent lung cancer is to eat many fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are rich with antioxidants and flavonoids. Antioxidants and flavonoids help protect your cell's DNA and repair damaged cells.
How can lung cancer be treated?
  • Wedge resection: Surgery to remove a tumor and some of the normal tissue around it. When a slightly larger amount of tissue is taken, it is called a segmental resection.
  • Lobectomy: Surgery to remove a whole lobe (section) of the lung.
  • Pneumonectomy: Surgery to remove one whole lung.
  • Sleeve resection: Surgery to remove part of the bronchus.

Other interesting facts about lung cancer:
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
  • Lung cancer causes 30% of all cancer deaths.
  • Lung cancer will kill more people this year than:
  1. Breast Cancer
  2. Prostate Cancer
  3. Colon Cancer
  4. Liver Cancer
  5. Kidney Cancer
  6. And Melanoma....combined.
No smoking=No lung cancer.