Overview of lung cancer
An uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that originates in one or both lungs is termed as lung cancer. It is important to note that the abnormal cells of cancer do not perform any function of normal lung cells and do not grow into healthy lung tissue. Lungs are organs of respiration that are situated in the chest. The lungs are of a sponge-like consistency and function by taking in oxygen during inhalation and releasing carbon dioxide during exhalation. The oxygen is delivered to the various organs via the bloodstream.
What are the types of lung cancer?
Lung cancer is classified into distinct types based on the appearance of the cancer cells under the microscope. Typing of lung cancer is important because the treatment is based on the type of cancer. The structure of the lungs is like a tree with branches known as bronchioles. The bronchioles end in the alveoli which are tiny balloon-like sacs in which the exchange of gases between the bloodstream and lung takes place. The alveoli are also glandular since they secrete mucus. Most cancers of the lung are adenocarcinomas, as they occur in the glandular structures in epithelial tissue. The types of lung cancer are:
- Small cell lung cancer: This type of cancer originates in the bronchi. It is aggressive as it grows quickly and rapidly spreads to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body. Usually attributed to tobacco smoking, this type of lung accounts for < 20% of all lung cancers. Depending on the kinds of cells found in cancer and their appearance under a microscope, small cell lung cancer is further subdivided into two types:
- Small cell carcinoma or oat-cell cancer
- Combined small cell carcinoma
Small cell lung cancer requires immediate treatment due to their aggressive nature.
- Non-small cell lung cancer: Any type of epithelial lung cancer that is not a small cell lung carcinoma is a non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). It is a broad term that includes many types of lung cancers that have similar behavior. Squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma are some of the NSCLC and they together account for 80% of all lung cancers.
- Bronchial Adenoma: It is a rare type of respiratory tract cancer that originates in the mucous glands and ducts of the bronchi or the lung airways, trachea, or the windpipe and the salivary glands. Even though the term “adenoma” is used for benign tumors, the bronchial adenoma is an exception because it can spread to the other parts of the body.
What is the staging of lung cancer?
Staging of lung cancer is done to express the extent or progression of the disease. It is done based on the medical history and the results of the diagnostic tests to develop an appropriate treatment plan by the oncologist.
Staging of small cell lung cancer: Small cell lung cancer stages is done as follows:
- Limited stage: As the name suggests, cancer in this stage is of a limited nature, mostly to one lung with or without the inclusion of the nearby lymph nodes.
- Extensive stage: As the name suggests, cancer in this stage spreads to the adjacent lung, the pleura i.e. the fluid around the lung or to the distant organs in the body.
Staging non-small cell lung cancer: Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) staging is done in two ways namely the TNM system and the numbering stages:
- T (tumor): A description of the size of the original tumor.
- N (node): Describes the extent of cancer in the neighboring lymph nodes, whether present or not.
- M (metastasis): This describes the extent of the spread of cancer to the other distant parts of the body like the liver, bones, or brain.
In addition to the TNM grading, a number between 0 to 4 or the letter X is assigned to each stage. An increase in the number is indicative of the increasing severity of the disease. The letter X denotes inability to assess the exact severity. For example, a tumor with a T3 score will be considered as more severe as compared to a tumor with a T2 score. The number staging is as follows:
Occult-stage: Presence of cancer cells in sputum, but the imaging tests or bronchoscopy do not reveal the presence of the tumor or it may be too small to be determined.
- Stage 0: Also known as carcinoma in situ, cancer in this stage is small and localized to the area of origin. In this stage, there is no spread of cancer into deeper lung tissues or outside the lungs.
- Stage I: In this stage, cancer spreads into the underlying tissues of the lung, however, the lymph nodes stay unaffected.
- Stage II: In this stage, cancer spreads to nearby lymph nodes or into the chest wall.
- Stage III: In this stage, cancer spreads into the neighboring lung, lymph nodes, nearby structures and organs like heart, trachea, and esophagus.
- Stage IV: This is the most advanced form in which cancer spreads to the distant parts of the body such as the bones, liver, adrenal gland, kidneys, or brain. The condition is known as “metastasis”. It is estimated that 40% of persons with lung cancer are diagnosed in stage IV.
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Health Blogs for Cancer
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Nov 12, 2021 17:54
Did you know that every year approximately 30,000 to 50,000 people are diagnosed with liver cancer in India? It also means that there are three to five patients in every one lakh people.
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Pancreatic Cancer: Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment
Jul 20, 2021 16:55
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Sarcomas: Causes, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment
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It is a type of cancer that begins in the bones or the soft tissues of the body. The soft tissues of our body include cartilage , nerves , tendons, fat, muscles,blood vessels, fibrous tissue, the lining of the joints ,or other connective or supportive tissue.
Ovarian Cancer : Early Signs, Detection and Treatment
May 14, 2021 17:02
Cancers that begin in the cells of the ovary, fallopian tube, or peritoneum are commonly referred to as "ovarian cancer." The cancers are closely related and are treated similarly. These cancers start when healthy cells in these areas begin to change and develop out of control, forming a tumour. Tumors may be cancerous or noncancerous
Minimally Invasive Surgery for the Treatment of Colon Cancer
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Know Cancer to say No Cancer
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Understanding Breast Cancer
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HR-HPV Screening for Cervical Cancer
Jan 09, 2020 14:40
Sexually transmitted HPV infection is thought to cause the majority of cervical cancers. In more than 90% of cervical carcinomas in situ, squamous carcinomas, and adenocarcinoma, HPV DNA is isolated. Primary prevention for cervical cancer with the HPV vaccine is strongly recommended.
Age-related screening recommendations for early detection of cancers
Jul 26, 2019 11:24
Screening for cancer before you develop symptoms is a good way to determine the presence of cancers. It is a good way to prevent or treat them early, thus helping in fewer complications and better quality of life in many cases.
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May 30, 2019 13:40
తలభాగం శరీరంలోనే అత్యంత కీలకం. అంతటి ముఖ్యమైన భాగం క్యాన్సర్ రూపంలో విజృంభిస్తున్నది. హెడ్ అండ్ నెక్ క్యాన్సర్ ప్రమాదకరంగా మారుతున్నది. హెడ్ అండ్ నెక్ క్యాన్సర్ మనదేశంలో రెండో స్థానం వైపు దూసుకెళ్తున్నది...
Does ovarian cancer affect your chances at pregnancy?
Apr 19, 2019 17:32
Ovarian cancer is a rare occurrence during pregnancy. Although the symptoms of ovarian cancer are difficult to differentiate from those of normal pregnancy, it is still possible to detect the disease in the early stage by way of routine ultrasound examination during pregnancy.
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Is bone marrow transplantation a cure for lymphoma and other blood cancers?
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Ladies, Be wise… Healthwise…..
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Feb 24, 2016 06:37
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Leukemia or Blood Cancer Early detection and the right treatment can save lives
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Cervical Cancer, a Leading Cause of Cancer Mortality Among Women
Feb 15, 2016 04:46
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Breast Cancer: Being aware is the key to survival
Jan 29, 2016 07:25
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Throat Cancer: A sore throat, difficulty in swallowing and lump in the throat may be a sign of throat cancer
Jan 23, 2016 04:00
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