Lung cancer is a leading killer of people in many countries. In some cases, it can be treated successfully and doesn't result in fatality. In fact, it is most likely to respond well to treatment when it is diagnosed and treated early. Unfortunately, however, some forms of lung cancer are more aggressive or difficult to treat than others, and early diagnosis doesn't guarantee recovery.
The lungs are the organs used in breathing. When a person inhales, his lungs take in oxygen; when he exhales, they release carbon dioxide. These organs are pink and have a rubbery appearance on the outside but are spongy on the inside. There are many things that may contribute to the development of lung cancer, but cigarette smoke is among the most likely culprits.
Unfortunately, this type of cancer sometimes develops in people who have never smoked as well as those who haven't been exposed to second-hand smoke on a frequent basis. Other possible causes of this type of cancer include carcinogen exposure, especially when the cancer-causing agent is something that can be inhaled. Repeated radiation exposure and exposure to radon gas may also contribute to this cancer's development.
Often, a person who has lung cancer won't have symptoms early in the course of the disease. Typically, a person only notices symptoms after the cancer has been developing for some time. An individual with this disease may develop such symptoms as a persistent cough, bloody coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and hoarseness. Sometimes a person who already has a chronic cough notices a change in his symptoms, which may be a sign of this type of cancer. Additionally, an individual with this disease may also experience chest pains, unexplained headaches, or back pain.
The treatment used when a person has lung cancer typically depends on a range of factors, including the stage of cancer at the time of treatment, his overall health besides the cancer, and the type of lung cancer he has. A patient's preferences are usually considered as well. Typically, treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, drug therapy, and clinical trials that involve experimental treatment methods.
Sometimes, a patient decides that he does not want treatment. For example, he may decide that the side effects are too difficult to bear and opt to avoid treatments that might cure him. In other cases, a doctor may inform a patient that there is little-to-no hope for a cure. In such a case, a patient may opt for supportive care, which is used to keep him comfortable rather than curing his cancer.