America's Leading Cancer Killer: Lung Cancer

1385 words - 6 pages

“You have lung cancer.” These are four words no one wants to hear! In 2013, 159,480 deaths due to lung cancer occurred in the United States. According to State of Lung Disease in Diverse Communities 2010, “Lung cancer survival rates tend to increase when the cancer is caught at an early stage.” According to X-Plain Patient Education, African Americans show the most common cases of lung cancer while Hispanics show the least. The lungs are two sponge-like cone shaped organs in the chest. The purpose of the lungs is to help one breathe. Oxygen comes into the lungs and travels through the windpipe. The windpipe (also referred to as the trachea) divides into two tubes called the bronchi. When a patient has lung cancer, the cancer forms on the tissue of the lungs, most often in the cells that border the air passages. Lung cancer occurs when cells in the lungs grow and multiply uncontrollably. This damages the surrounding tissue and interferes with the lung’s normal functions. Lung cancer is a disease which has two main types, four main stages and the causes, symptoms, and treatments of this disease have been well researched (Henschke and McCarthy).
Firstly, there are two main types of lung cancer and four main stages of lung cancer. The two types of lung cancer are non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer (also known as “oat cell cancer”). Non-small cell lung cancer is more common than small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer usually spreads to different parts of the body slower than small cell lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer is more likely to spread to other organs in the body. Of the people who develop small cell lung cancer, only about six percent survive for five years. Some patients can develop lung cancer which has characteristics of both types; this is known as mixed small cell/large cell carcinoma. The stage of lung cancer is referring to how much the lung cancer has spread in the body. Determining the stage of a patient’s lung cancer includes evaluating the size of a tumor and the presence or absence of metastases in the lymph nodes or in other organs. Staging is important for determining the best possible treatment for a specific case of lung cancer. During stage one of lung cancer, the cancer is confined to the lungs. During stages two and three of lung cancer, the cancer is confined to the lungs and, possibly, the lymph nodes. Stage four of lung cancer is when the cancer has spread outside of the lungs to other parts of the body. In summary, the two types of lung cancer are non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer and lung cancer has four main stages. (Klamerus, Brahmer, and Ettinger)
Second, there are various causes for lung cancer. Many people believe that the only cause of lung cancer is smoking, but this is not true. According to NIHSeniorHealth.com, lung cancer could be caused by radon, second hand smoke, and chemicals and air pollutants. Chemicals and air pollutants that could cause lung cancer...

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