Lung cancer is a deadly disease that causes about 150,000 deaths a year according to the CDC. The main cause is tobacco, which is responsible for over 33% of cancers in men and 10% of cancers in women.
Non-small cell lung cancer NSCLC is the most common form of lung cancer and accounts for 75-80% of lung cancers. The second type of lung cancer is known as small cell cancer and accounts for 10 to 15% of the cases. In the case of lung cancer, lung cells mutate after exposure to toxic substances such as tobacco, asbestos, and pesticides. It is these mutations that are responsible for the development of the tumors.
Although lung cancer used to be a predominantly male disease, women are now catching up with men. A parity we could have done without.
The first risk factor: smoking
Tobacco is responsible for more than 33% of cancers in men and 10% of cancers in women. These numbers are steadily increasing, especially among the rising number of women who smoke. The risk of developing lung cancer increases with the number of years of exposure and the number of cigarettes smoked. But it is never too late to throw away that pack of cigarettes because quitting smoking always leads to lower cancer mortality.
Symptoms that should not be ignored
Persistent cough, shortness of breath, hoarseness, chest pain, and blood in the sputum along with unexplained fever, loss of appetite, and weight loss should prompt you to visit your doctor.
The disease is generally diagnosed by a blood test, then a CT or MRI scan, and finally confirmed by a biopsy.
Surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy are the different solutions that are available to treat this terrible disease. In the early stages, doctors will most often have to resort to surgery. But it is common for cancer to metastasize, and then a race against the clock begins.
Among the innovative treatments: Targeted therapies that specifically target the diseased cells. The specific molecules used, block the cancer process locally while sparing healthy cells. And immunotherapy is used to awaken the immune system so that the tumors are targeted without hurting healthy cells. In non-small cell lung cancer, immunotherapy has been shown to increase patient survival by 27%, and in some cases by more than 40%.
Rush Limbaugh who was a smoker was diagnosed with lung cancer one year ago most likely at an advanced stage which makes it more difficult to treat. He passed away today after suffering from complications related to the disease.
Early diagnosis is very important so pay attention especially if you are a smoker or an industrial worker to any of the following symptoms:
- Persistent cough
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain,
- Blood in the sputum
- Unexplained fever
- Loss of appetite, and weight loss.
And if in doubt go see your doctor.