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Health

Lung Cancer.

This is a condition in which malignant tumors grow in the lung and metastasize  over time.

Lung cancer can spread to any organ in the body and one of the most difficult cancers to treat.

Lung cancer can arise in any part of the lung, but 90% of cancers of the lung arise from the epithelial cells, the cells lining the larger and smaller airways for this reason lung cancers are sometimes called bronchohenic cancers.

Causes of lung cancer.

1. Smoking

The incident of lung cancer is strongly correlated with cigarette smoking with 90% of lung cancer arising because  of tobacco use. The risk of lung cancer increases with the number of cigarettes smoked and time over which they were smoked.

2. Passive smoking.

Passive smoking or inhalation of tobacco smoke by non smokers is also an established cause of lung cancer.

3. Exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos fibers are silicate fibers that can persist for a lifetime in lung tissue following exposure to asbestos.

4. Exposure to radon gas.

This is a natural radioactive gas that is a natural decay product of uranium that emits a type of radiation. Radon is a known cause of lung cancer.

5. Lung diseases.

The presence of other diseases of the lung causes lung cancer eg chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD) and pulmonary fibrosis.

6. Exposure to diesel exhaust.

Exhaust from diesel engines contain gases and soot which exposes someone to lung cancer.

Symptoms

1. Shortness of breath.

2. Wheezing.

3. Chest pain.

4. Hemoptysis.

5. Seizures.

6. Symptoms of stroke.

7. Blurred vision.

8. Cough.

Diagnosis.

Doctors use a wide range of diagnostic procedures and tests to diagnose lung cancer. They include;

1. History and physical exam

This may reveal presence of symptoms that are suspicious for lung cancer.

2. Chest x ray

It is the most common first diagnostic step when any new symptoms of lung cancer are present. It involves a view of the back and front of the lung.

3. Computerized tomography (CT) scan.

These are x ray procedure that combine multiple images with aid of a computer to generate cross sectional views of an organ.

4. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

MRI uses magnetism, radio waves and computer to  produce images of body structures.

Treatment.

1. Surgery.

Involves doctors surgically removing the tumor for limited stage( stage 1 or 2).

2. Radiation.

Radiation therapy uses high energy x rays or other types of radiation to kill dividing cancer cells in the lung. 

3. Chemotherapy.

It refers to administration of drugs that stop the growth of cancer cells by killing them or preventing them from dividing. 

Chemotherapy can be given alone or in combination with radiation.

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