Lung cancer is a serious disease categorized as rapid and uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells in the lungs. Cancer cells may be present in one or both of a patient’s lungs. The growth of these cells affects the lung’s ability to function with the development of tumors that hinder their ability to effectively get oxygen to the body. Lung cancer may take different forms, which affects the type of treatment provided.
Lung cancer may be primary or secondary. Primary lung cancer is that which forms in the lungs. Secondary lung cancer is categorized as that which travels to the lungs from another part of the body. This type is named for the location of the body it metastasized from as opposed to being classified as lung cancer, and treatment types may vary in these cases.
A diagnosis of lung cancer is said to be the second most common of all cancer types in men and women, however it is the leading cause of cancer related death for both groups. Lung cancer is more commonly diagnosed in older individuals, and in many cases takes years to form. It is also more prevalent in men than in women.
Cigarette smoke is a leading cause of lung cancer. Other influences include asbestos exposure, and other factors both environmental and internal. There are cases where the patient is not a smoker and the root cause cannot be identified.
Advancements have been made in regards to the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, however, over an estimated 150,000 individuals reportedly die from the disease every year. Several organizations and individuals are advocating for more research for this type of cancer that parallel other types that often receive more attention in terms of funding and efforts to increase public knowledge about the disease.
Additional information on lung cancer is available to patients and their families through resources such as the Lung Cancer Alliance, the National Cancer Institute, and LungCancerOnline.org.