It is estimated that lung cancer represents the largest single cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. The risk of developing lung cancer used to be higher in men. However, since the number of female smokers has been rising steadily, today more women develop this type of malignant disease. It may sound amazing but over the last decade the number of females affected by lung cancer has increased by 150%. On the other hand, increase in number of males affected by lung cancer has accounted for only 20%. This as well as some additional facts bring us to conclusion that women may be more susceptible to lung cancer comparing to men.
Lung Cancer: Causes
Smoking is definitely the leading cause of lung cancer. More than 8 out of 10 cases of lung cancer affect individuals who are smokers. The risk is increased in people who have been smoking for many years and in those who smoke more cigarettes per day. Once the person stops smoking after several years his/her lungs may clear and he/she then reduces the risk of lung cancer.
It is of great importance to mention second-hand smoke, another contributor to lung cancer. Non-smokers may develop lung cancer just by being persistently exposed to second-hand smoke.
Another contributor to lung cancer is asbestos. Exposure to this mineral leads to accumulation of its particles inside the lungs. These are responsible for lung cancer and may also induce mesothelioma, a cancer of the pleura.
And finally, several more risk factors include previous radiation therapy to the chest area, personal and family history and air pollution.
Lung Cancer: Current Treatment Options
Depending on the stage of the disease, pathohistological type of the tumor, patient's general health, accompanying illnesses and several more factors doctors may opt for surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. There is usually a combination of the two, or even all three treatment modalities.
Survival rates are better in case of non-small cell carcinoma comparing to small cell carcinoma, a tumor which even in early stage of the disease may spread to different parts of the body, particularly to the brain. Small cell carcinoma is quite aggressive and hard to treat because it may be responsive to both chemotherapy and radiation.
Lung Cancer: Prevention
The uttermost goals when it comes to prevention of lung cancer are smoking cessation and avoiding second-hand smoke. Furthermore, exposure to other detrimental pollutants and potential culprits of lung cancer such as asbestos, radon etc should be reduced, if not completely eliminated. Proper diet and intake of all the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals maintains the immune system and helps in preservation of health.