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Lung cancer What we need to know

Lung cancer is the leading cause of death in both women and men. Statistically, lung cancer kills more women than breast cancer, and more men than prostate and colorectal cancer.

Risk groups primarily include smokers, as well as passive smokers, people with a family history of lung cancer, patients after radiotherapy (for breast or other chest tumors), people living in radiation zones and people under the influence of toxic metals. The combination of smoking and other risk factors increases the likelihood of the disease.



In the early stages of the disease, lung cancer is practically asymptomatic. Symptoms develop as the disease progresses:

  • Prolonged cough
  • Fruity sputum
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in the chest
  • weight loss
  • bone pain
  • headache



Most lung cancers are caused by smoking, both active and passive. However, lung cancer also develops in people who have never smoked or been exposed to cigarette smoke.

Carcinogens contained in cigarette smoke irritate and damage the lining cells of the respiratory tract and cause their degeneration.


There are two main groups of lung cancer:

small cell carcinoma – As a rule, they appear in active smokers. Less common than non-small cell carcinoma.

Non-small cell carcinoma occurs more often. It combines the following forms:

  • Squamous cell (squamous) carcinoma that starts in squamous cells
  • Large cell carcinoma
  • Adenocarcinoma that begins in the alveolar tissue of the lung.

Other common forms of non-small cell tumors are: pleomorphic, carcinoid, unclassified carcinomas.


Risk factors

  • Smoking – regular, long-term cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer. Quitting smoking at any age or condition can significantly reduce the risks.
  • Passive smoking – passive inhalation of cigarette smoke is no less dangerous for health.
  • Radiotherapy – Radiotherapy for breast or other chest cancer increases the risk of lung cancer.
  • Inhalation of radon gas - radon is released into the soil, water, and air as a result of the natural decomposition of uranium. Its regular inhalation is a risk factor for lung carcinoma.
  • Long-term exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens – asbestos, arsenic, chromium, nickel and other elements are known carcinogens and their content in various environments is quite high, which also increases the risk of developing lung cancer, especially in smokers.
  • Family history - the presence of lung cancer in first and second degree relatives increases the risk of developing the disease.



  • Shortness of breath. As the tumor grows, the airways are blocked, which makes the inhalation-exhalation process difficult. In addition, exudate (fluid leakage) often develops around the tumor tissue, which also disrupts the breathing process.
  • Coughing up blood. Due to the damage of small blood vessels, bloody effusion develops, which is released together with sputum. Bleeding from the respiratory tract may become more massive.
  • pain. Lung cancer tissue often cuts into the surrounding tissues: pleura, bones and causes pain.
  • fluid in the pleura. Lung cancer is characterized by the accumulation of fluid in the lining of the lung - the pleura. Accumulated fluid in the pleural cavity causes respiratory failure. Evacuation of liquid is carried out by drainage. There is also a risk of its repeated accumulation.
  • Metastases. Lung cancer metastases often spread to other organs – the brain and bones. Depending on the organ in which the metastasis has developed, complaints appear: pain, nausea, vomiting, headache, and others.



  • Avoiding both active and passive smoking
  • Environmental testing for radon
  • Avoidance of carcinogenic agents
  • Food ration enriched with fruits and vegetables
  • Dosed physical activity





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