Lung cancer, of which smoking is one of the main factors, ranks first in cancer-related deaths. However, when it is caught at an early stage, the chance of treating the disease increases.
Lung cancer begins when cells from structurally normal lung tissue proliferate out of need and control, forming a mass (tumor) in the lung. The mass formed here primarily grows in its environment, and in more advanced stages, it spreads to surrounding tissues or to distant organs (liver, bone, brain, etc.) through circulation, causing damage.
Lung cancer is a very common cancer. It accounts for 12-16 percent of all cancers and 17-28 percent of cancer-related deaths. Moreover, it ranks first in cancer-related deaths in both women and men.
Symptoms of lung cancer
Cough, which is one of the first symptoms of lung cancer, is often underestimated, considering that it is due to other causes. However, persistent cough that lasts more than two weeks, increases gradually and whose cause cannot be determined, appears as the main indicator of lung cancer. In addition, blood in the sputum or dark brown sputum color are also known as important symptoms in lung cancer.
In what situations can cough be a sign of lung cancer?
Chest pain, which can be caused by many reasons, is actually one of the main symptoms of lung cancer. If the chest pain increases while breathing deeply, coughing or laughing, it is necessary to consult a doctor without wasting time.
Shortness of breath
Respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath and wheezing can occur in all stages of lung cancer. Shortness of breath, which is an important indicator of insidious lung cancer, is not considered properly. While the old and overweight people attribute their shortness of breath to their age, young people state that they neglect to go to the doctor because of the intensity of their work. However, it should not be forgotten that early diagnosis is of vital importance in lung cancer.
Anorexia and Weight Loss
Especially active smokers should consult a doctor if they have anorexia. Since weight loss of unknown origin is among the important symptoms of lung cancer, it should not be neglected.
Hoarseness and Difficulty Swallowing
Hoarseness and difficulty swallowing, one of the symptoms of lung cancer, can also be caused by many reasons, just like other symptoms. On the other hand, it is necessary to see a doctor in hoarseness that develops without a common cold, as well as complaints, history and examination findings of the person are very important for diagnosis.
What are the symptoms of lung cancer?
Fatigue, constant fatigue and weakness are among the common symptoms that should not be missed in lung cancer. From iron deficiency anemia is very common in Turkey to seasonal conditions, if the daily life of the busy hustle and bustle of which can be caused by many reasons, until the psychological distress weakness everyday life is starting to negatively affect and respiratory complaints are also accompanied by lung scan to be neglect to built.
Sticking in the Fingers
The slow and painless development of clubbing caused by the swelling and rounding of the soft tissue on the tips of the fingers and toes shows that it is caused by reasons other than lung cancer. However, its rapid and painful occurrence is among the symptoms of lung cancer.
While complaints of back and shoulder pain are common in our country, desk workers often consider this as a problem caused by poor posture and working at the computer for long hours. However, in case of the spread of lung cancer, back pain, shoulder pain, shoulder blade pain, arm and leg pain or severe headache if it has spread to the brain manifests itself as important symptoms. Growth in the glands on the neck and above the collarbone, on the other hand, indicates especially lung cancer.
Frequently Recurrent Infection
Frequent recurrence and non-healing of respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia are also symptoms of lung cancer. It is recommended to screen once a year, especially for people who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day for more than 15 years or who have not quit smoking 15 years ago.
Scientific studies; It reveals that it is possible to detect lung cancer early with low-dose lung tomography in people between the ages of 55-74 with a history of heavy smoking.
While the success rate can reach 80-90% with treatment in the early stage, called the first stage, people who have smoked for many years must go to regular check-ups even if they have no complaints.
Drop in Eyelid
A drop in the eyelid and shrinkage in the pupil and the absence of sweating on the same side of the face may also indicate lung cancer. This condition is called Horner syndrome in medicine.
If you have one or more of these symptoms, consult a pulmonologist immediately. These symptoms may indicate other conditions, not necessarily lung cancer, but the underlying cause needs to be investigated and treated.
If your physician suspects lung cancer, he will make a diagnosis with advanced examination methods. With lung cancer diagnosed at an early stage, the chance of a cure is 85-90 percent.
Reducing the Risk of Lung Cancer
Cigarette, cigar, pipe (tobacco) smoking is the most important proven risk factor for lung cancer today.
The risk is 1 times higher for those who smoke 20 pack a day for 20 years than those who do not. The risk also increases for those who are under the age of starting smoking, passive smokers who are exposed to cigarette smoke although they do not smoke, and pipe and cigar smokers. Although the risk decreases after 5 years of quitting smoking, it does not end completely.
In addition, air pollution, previous lung disease, and family history of lung cancer increase the risk.
Diagnostic Methods of Lung Cancer
Many methods are used for diagnosis. Since this cancer rarely presents symptoms before it spreads to nearby lymph nodes or other organs, only 15 percent of patients can be diagnosed early. Early diagnosis often occurs coincidentally during examinations for another disease.
Some methods used in the diagnosis of lung cancer today are as follows:
- Radiological examinations (Chest X-ray, Computed Tomography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, PET / CT) in addition to sputum sample examination,
- Endoscopic evaluation of the bronchi (bronchoscopy),
- Bronchoscopic or chest wall biopsy.
- Mediastinoscopy and video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery for evaluation of lymph nodes in the mediastinum.
Biopsy procedure is planned by determining how to approach the masses determined as a result of CT, according to the findings obtained as a result of the examination or with a lung x-ray that can be taken within the scope of screening, in patients who present with a physician for complaints or for other reasons such as general health screening.
Bronchoscopy is applied to the patient and lung biopsy is performed. Bronscopy; The lung is reached with a thin flexible tube and the part is taken with a needle.
Cancer diagnosis becomes definite as a result of the pathological examination of this biopsy sample. After the diagnosis of cancer, methods such as PET / CT can be used to determine the extent of the disease.
Treatment Methods of Lung Cancer
The most important factors in determining the treatment in lung cancers are the type and stage of the cancer. In suitable patients, the lung or lung section where cancer is located can be removed by surgical methods. Chemotherapy can be applied to patients who are considered unsuitable for surgery.
In addition, new treatments such as smart drugs and immunotherapy can be used if cancer cells have certain properties, among some new treatment methods.
Prevention of Lung Cancer
- Avoid cancer-causing substances such as cigarettes and alcohol,
- Thinking positively and avoiding stress,
- Avoiding radiation,
- Tar, gasoline, dyestuffs, asbestos, etc. paying attention not to inhalation of substances,
- To stay away from air pollution,
- Maintaining a healthy diet.