Cancer is one of the most deadly illnesses ever known. In 2012 alone, it caused about 8.2 million deaths representing about 14.6% of all human deaths in that year. In the same year, about 14.1 million new cases of the disease occurred meaning that it is a growing problem as opposed to a receding one. Fortunately, cancer is survivable. For example, the survival rate for this medical condition in the US 5 years after the initial diagnosis is 66%. Improving this rate of survival is impossible if people know more about this illness. For example, did you know that about 100 types of cancers exist and one of the most common ones is lung cancer? Here are some facts on this type of cancer so that you can keep yourself healthy by knowing how to prevent or deal with it.
What Is Lung Cancer?
The technical name for this medical condition is lung carcinoma, which refers to a malignant tumor growing in a person’s lungs. This tumor destroys other healthy tissues around it impeding the function of the lungs. It may also prevent the lung from functioning properly by blocking airways including a major airway critical to breathing. If untreated for a long time, it might spread to other parts of a person’s body making it more difficult to treat than it was when confined to the lungs. Symptoms of this illness include coughing, weight loss, chest pain, and short breath. It is also common to see a person suffering from it coughing up blood. Unfortunately, lung cancer is quite common. In 2012, 1.8 million new cases of this cancer occurred while 1.6 million people succumbed to it in the same year. Currently, it causes the highest number of cancer deaths in men. After breast cancer, it is the highest cause of cancer-related deaths in women.
The Prevention of Lung Cancer
The survival rate for this illness is not as uplifting as that of other types of cancer. For example, the average survival rate in the US 5 years after the initial diagnosis of lung cancer is 17.4% as opposed to a 66% average for all cancers. It means that preventing this illness is of great importance to anyone. Doing so is possible and in some cases, cost effective. More specifically, smoking accounts for 85% of all lung cancer incidents and as such, not smoking cigarettes reducing your chances of developing this illness tremendously. Remember, you should also avoid second-hand smoking because it accounts for about 3,400 annual deaths in the US. You should also go for regular screening so that doctors can detect it early if it develops in you.
The Treatment of Lung Cancer
The successful treatment of this illness depends on the type of cancerous cell that afflicts a patient, the extent of damage caused to the lungs, and the physical well-being of a person. The options available include surgery, palliative care, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Surgery is only applicable if the disease is yet to spread to a point where an invasive medical procedure might be detrimental to the patient’s health. When doctors decide on radiotherapy as the best option, they often do it together with chemotherapy.