Lung cancer is a disease when malignant tumors appear and develop from bronchial epithelial tissue. Lung cancer is divided into non-small cell lung cancer accounting for 80-85% and small cell lung cancer accounting for 15-20%. This is an extremely dangerous cancer, but many people are very vague about this disease. This article aims to provide basic awareness about lung cancer
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Lung Cancer Awareness Month
As you may not know, November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month. November is also a month to raise awareness about some other types of cancer such as Lung cancer, Caregiver, Carcinoid syndrome, Gastric (stomach) cancer,… Although lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States, it is not a concern for everyone. This may be due to a common misconception that it only affects smokers.
Of course, smoking is the leading cause of many types of cancer, including lung cancer, but it’s not the only one. The fact is, anyone can get lung cancer. Despite these statistics, public awareness of the health risks of lung cancer remains very low. To raise people’s awareness about lung cancer, the American Cancer Society has designated November every year as National Lung Cancer Awareness Month.
Lung Cancer Awareness Month is organized with the aim of encouraging people to take a few minutes to review what they know about lung cancer and provide more information about lung cancer to the public. As with any form of cancer, early detection is key to survival. Lung cancer screening with CT has been shown to reduce lung cancer mortality.
Cough, wheezing, hoarseness, and fatigue are just some of the symptoms that are often confused with less serious conditions. You may have an increased risk of lung cancer if you have been exposed to radon, asbestos, or other carcinogens, or if you have a personal or family history of the disease. Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, but not everyone who smokes gets cancer, and not everyone who gets lung cancer smokes.
Treatments for lung cancer may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or one of several interventional radiology procedures. To protect your health, talk to your doctor about lung cancer risks, symptoms of lung cancer, and treatments today.
Lung Cancer Ribbon
Cancer ribbon colors are often attached to lapels or printed on t-shirts or stickers. Wearing a ribbon is a simple way to show your support for those living with cancer. It’s a way to spread awareness and send a message of solidarity without having to say a word.
Ribbons with different colors represent different forms of cancer. A light purple or lavender ribbon is often used to represent all cancers in general. Sometimes, different ribbons are combined to represent all cancers.
Below is a list of the 28 most common types of ribbons.
It’s important to note that particular cancer can be indicated by more than one ribbon color, and this can vary depending on where you live. Some ribbon colors also represent specific nonprofit groups that support a particular type of cancer. For example, a white or pearl ribbon is used to represent lung cancer, but turquoise is the color of the American Lung Association.
In addition, there are months dedicated to certain types of cancer. For example, June is National Cancer Survival Month, with others on the list below.
|All cancers||Light purple (lavender)|
|Bladder cancer||Yellow, purple, and navy blue||May|
|Bone marrow transplant||Green|
|Breast cancer (inflammatory)||Hot pink|
|Breast cancer (hereditary)||Teal and pink|
|Breast cancer with gynecologic cancers||Teal and pink|
|Breast cancer (in men)||Pink and blue||October|
|Carcinoid syndrome||Black and white zebra stripes||November|
|Cervical cancer||Teal and white||January|
|Colon cancer||Dark blue||March|
|Colorectal cancer||Dark blue||March|
|Esophageal cancer||Light purple/periwinkle||April|
|Gallbladder/bile duct cancer||Green||February|
|Gastric (stomach) cancer||Periwinkle blue||November|
|Head and neck cancer||Burgundy and ivory, or red and white||April|
|Kidney cancer (renal cell carcinoma)||Green or orange||March|
|Laryngeal cancer||Burgundy and white|
|Liver cancer||Emerald or jade green||October|
|Lung cancer||Pearl, clear, or white||November|
|Lymphoma (non-Hodgkin)||Lime green||September|
|Myeloproliferative diseases||Orange and red|
|Neuroendocrine cancers||Black and white zebra-stripes||November|
|Oral cancer||Burgundy and white||April|
|Pharyngeal cancer||Burgundy and white||April|
|Prostate cancer||Light blue||September|
|Rare diseases (including rare cancers)||Black and white zebra-stripes|
|Skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma)||Red and white||May|
|Small intestine cancer||periwinkle blue|
|Testicular cancer||Purple (orchid)||April|
|Throat cancer||Burgundy and white|
|Thyroid cancer||Blue, pink, and teal||September|
Symptoms of lung cancer
There are usually no signs or symptoms in the early stages. Symptoms of lung cancer develop as the condition progresses. Sometimes your doctor may find some unusual changes on your chest X-ray. Your doctor may have scheduled an X-ray for other reasons and you may not have any symptoms. Changes on a chest X-ray do not always mean you have lung cancer. There may be other causes, such as an infection. But your doctor can schedule other tests to look at further changes
The most common symptom is feeling tired and unwell.
You may find it very difficult to breathe if cancer blocks your airways or if there is fluid around your lungs. Other symptoms of advanced cancer depend on where the cancer is in the body. Lung cancer can spread to:
- Lymph nodes in the chest, or in the abdomen (abdomen), neck, or armpits
- Other parts of the lung or other lungs
The main symptoms of lung cancer include:
- A cough that doesn’t go away after 2 or 3 weeks
- A long-standing cough that gets worse
- Chest infections that keep coming back
- Coughing up blood
- An ache or pain when breathing or coughing
- Persistent breathlessness
- Persistent tiredness or lack of energy
- Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss
If you have any of these, you should see a doctor immediately.
Less common symptoms of lung cancer include:
- Changes in the appearance of your fingers, such as becoming more curved or their ends becoming larger (this is known as finger clubbing)
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) or pain when swallowing
- A hoarse voice
- Swelling of your face or neck
- Persistent chest or shoulder pain
Signs & Symptoms of Lung Cancer in Females
The most common type of lung cancer in women is adenocarcinoma, and these carcinomas tend to develop in the outer parts of the lungs. These tumors can become quite large and may even spread before they are detected. Early detection of this type of lung cancer is very important in its treatment. Symptoms to look for include:
- Back and shoulder pain
- Shortness of breath during physical activity
If the cancer is more advanced, symptoms will include:
- Persistent, intermittently intense cough
- Pain in the chest, shoulder, or back that has nothing to do with the pain of a severe cough
- A change in the color or amount of mucus
- Shortness of breath
- The voice becomes hoarse and heavier over time
- A shrill sound heard with each breath (medically called a cry)
- Recurrent episodes of bronchitis or pneumonia
- Coughing up phlegm or mucus with blood
Lung Cancer Symptoms in Men
The symptoms of lung cancer in men are slightly different than in women. Some symptoms are clearly unrelated to lung cancer, so misdiagnosis can occur. Another reason for these differences is that men who develop lung cancer tend to have a history of smoking (more than women), so the types of lung cancer they get are often more closely related to smoke and will have distinct symptoms.
Men get squamous cell carcinoma more often than women. These carcinomas tend to grow near the central airways and can produce early symptoms. Symptoms include:
- Chronic cough
- Shortness of breath
- Hoarseness of voice
- Repeated episodes of lung infections, including pneumonia and bronchitis.
Although these are common symptoms, they do not rule out special cases. We recommend that you go to the doctor immediately when there are abnormal signs anywhere on the body.
Because lung cancer is difficult to detect, it can spread silently and may not be noticed until it has progressed to an advanced stage. When lung cancer initially spreads, symptoms may be felt elsewhere in the body.
Treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy can sometimes shrink cancer and relieve symptoms.
Stages of Lung Cancer
Once a patient has been diagnosed with lung cancer, doctors will provide information about the patient’s current cancer stage. Understanding the stage of lung cancer can also help people understand the progression of the disease and which parts of the lungs are affected.
The stage of lung cancer helps determine where the tumor is, its size, and how far cancer has spread. Each stage provides a common language for patients and doctors to discuss disease progression without using too much technical jargon. Understanding your own cancer stage is also an important part of deciding on the most appropriate treatment option.
Most doctors classify cancer according to the TNM method, specifically as follows:
- T – Tumor status: About the size and location of the tumor
- N – Node: About the lymph nodes involved
- M – Metastatic status: Cancer has spread farther than the lymph nodes
Example: If no tumor is present, that stage would be T0. If cancer has spread to nearby localized lymph nodes, it will be N1.
There are two main types of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. The staging of these two types of lung cancer is also different.
Non-small cell lung cancer stage
Non-small cell lung cancer is divided into the following sub-stages:
- Covered stage: The tumor has not been detected in the lung but only in sputum or water samples through endoscopy.
- Stage 0: Lung cancer cells are gradually found in the lung but only a small part of the inner lining of the lung, the tumor is not spreading cancer.
- Stage 1: Cancer cells begin to appear in the lung but have not spread to other areas
- Stage 2: Cancer cells begin to spread to many locations around the lung such as the chest wall, pleura, lymph nodes, or the membrane surrounding the heart …
- Stage 3: Cancer cells begin to spread more to other locations, specifically in the chest between the heart and lungs. The cancer is at risk of spreading to the lower neck.
- Stage 4: Cancer begins to spread to the remaining lung or some other part of our body, at this stage, the cancer cells cannot be removed by surgery anymore.
To learn more about the stages of non-small cell lung cancer, read this article from the American Cancer Society, Inc.
Small cell lung cancer Stage
Small cell lung cancer is not usually staged according to the method above because it tends to spread (metastasize) early and is classified into the following two stages:
- Limited stage: The stage where cancer cells are found in only one lung and some surrounding tissue.
- Extensive stage: In this stage, cancer cells have begun to spread and are found in many places, either in the chest outside the lungs or possibly in other organs further away from the lungs.
Staging your lung cancer will help your doctor determine the best treatment. The stage does not necessarily indicate the course and outcome (prognosis) of lung cancer, but prognosis depends on overall health, other diseases, and response to treatment.
Lung Cancer Survival Rates
If you or a loved one has lung cancer, your first question will certainly be whether you can be cured. And what are your chances of survival?
Lung cancer is one of the hardest lung diseases to beat. The number of deaths from lung cancer is equal to the number of deaths from the other three types of cancer combined. Less than one-fifth (20%) of people diagnosed with the disease are still alive 5 years later. That’s the same rate as for liver cancer and higher mortality than for any other cancer type except for pancreatic cancer.
Lung cancer survival rates or survival statistics tell you the percentage of people who survive a certain type and stage of cancer for a specific time period. It is based on population averages and is not a prediction of how long an individual will live with a diagnosis of cancer.
The 5-year survival rate of lung cancer (18.6%) is much lower than that of other common cancers, such as colorectal (64.5%), breast (89.6%). and prostate (98.2%).
The 5-year survival rate for lung cancer is 56% for cases detected when the disease is still localized (in the lungs). However, only 16% of lung cancer cases are diagnosed at an early stage. For distant tumors (metastasized to other organs), the 5-year survival rate is only 5%.
More than half of people with lung cancer die within a year of being diagnosed.
Survival rate by stage
Some doctors rely on a more detailed prognostic tool based on a staging system called a tumor, node, and metastasis (TNM). This survival rate is the actual percentage of a sample of people who are diagnosed with Non-Small cell lung cancer or small cell lung cancer and who are alive at 2 and 5 years.
- Stage IA1: 97% (2 years); 90% (5 years)
- Stage IA2: 94%; 85%
- Stage IA3: 92%; 80%
- Stage IB: 89%; 73%
- Stage IIA: 82%; 65%
- Stage IIB: 76%; 56%
- Stage IIIA: 65%; 41%
- Stage IIIB: 47%; 24%
- Stage IIIC: 30%; 20%
These survival rates for the most typical lung cancer stages are estimated using a slightly different standard. The 2 and 5-year survival rates for all types of lung cancer are:
- Stage IVA: 23%; 10%
- Phase IVB: 10%; 0%
This is the average percentage of the population counted. Interestingly, no two people have the same lung cancer. You may respond differently to treatments. For example, the same type of lung cancer, the same stage, and the same treatment, but two different people have different success rates and survival rates.
The good news is that the number of lung cancer deaths in the United States is steadily decreasing. At the same time, the average survival time of those newly diagnosed has inched up. Currently, researchers are conducting more than 1,500 lung cancer clinical trials to test new therapies or new combinations of treatments.