Lung Cancer Is a Complex Genetic Disease Essay

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Lung Cancer

Cancer is a complex genetic disease in which a series of processes give rise to the final processing of the normal cell to cell tumor. In case of a tumor cell, the fundamental characteristic of the cell is lost which performs the usual function of normal cells of a particular organ. Tumor cells also deteriorate rapidly and without limit, having lost one of the features that normal cells have, which is the programmed cell death. This progressive increase in the whole tumor cell proliferation is called cancer. As the tumor progresses, the daughter cells are in differentiable making more genetic changes (Bach, 2011). This increase their malignant potential, and others are beginning to emerge processes such as local or loco-regional extension and infiltration of lymphatic micro vessels and blood vessels, which ultimately produces the transport through the lymphatic stream, resulting in lymph node invasion, and the bloodstream and subsequent colonization other organs (distant metastases).

Lung Cancer

The process of lung cancer is similar to other cancers. The normal cell is transforms into the tumor cell in the epithelium lining the entire respiratory tree from the trachea to the terminal bronchioles finer, and the cells found in the pulmonary alveoli. While the main cause of lung cancer is smoking, but any person can develop lung cancer. Lung cancer can be treated regardless of the size, locality and area coverage of the tumor cells. However, the long-term outcome is not very favorable when the state is of advanced cancer (Holdstock, 2010).

Types of Lung Cancer

There are two types of lung cancer: small cell and non-small cell. Mostly the non-small cell cancer originates in the epithelial cells, while small cell cancer originates from neurons or hormone-producing cells. The term "small cell" indicates the size and shape of the cancer cells because they are seen with a microscope and are not visible from the naked eye. It is imperative that physicians recognize the difference between these two types of cancer because each of these is treated differently (Holdstock, 2010).The size and location of the cancer cells and the presence or absence of spreading tumor cells near from lymph nodes or to other parts of the body, determine the phase of the lung cancer. The type of lung cancer and stage of disease define the treatment method required.


People with lung cancer often experience certain symptoms, although this is not always the case. Sometimes the symptoms are similar to those of other benign diseases. Occasions where there are no symptoms, lung cancer is usually detected in a radiograph performed for other reasons. But most are identified when the cancer has grown. Cancer is normally diagnosed when the tumor cells start occupying space, the tumor cell start interfering with attached organs or parts of the body. Lung cancer often causes formation of fluids which accumulate inside the lung (s) or space around it. Tumors literally drives the inhaled air out of the lungs which the collapses the lung (atelectasis) (Cleeland, 2007). Thus lung cancer can obstruct the exchange of oxygen in the lungs since it fully occupies the space essential for exchange of gases. Thus, the possible symptoms are:

- Tiredness

- Loss of appetite

- Dry cough with phlegm or - Blood showing up in the sputum while coughing

- Shortness of breath (dyspnea)

- Pain

Other symptoms may appear from possible metastasis (invasion of cancer cells at other locations in the body) like in lymph nodes, lungs, bones, brain, liver and adrenal glands. Sometimes, there are a number of symptoms of a process called paraneoplastic syndrome, which is motivated by biochemical substances and hormones produced by the tumor and produce inaccuracies in the function of other organs.


From all the cancer types, lung cancer is the most fatal type of cancer amongst men and women. While diagnosing cancer, lung cancer is approximately 13% of the total diagnosed cancers. Deaths due to lung cancer are 29% (Jemal, 2011). From all types of cancers, lung cancer is the one which is increasing the most. It has been found that there has been an increase in lung cancer prevailing in women by 1% (Jemal, 2011). This trend is probably due to the increased number of women smokers. Doctors have been unable to predict the life of patient with lung cancer. What matters is that it is possible to treat this cancer regardless of its stage, and it has been shown that different treatment methods assists people have a quality and longer life (Youlden, Cramb, Baade, 2008).

Risk Factors And Prevention

Some risk factors are controllable and some are not. Smoking can be controlled but patient in whom cancer is hereditary is uncontrollable. However, some people are immune to risk factors and do not develop lung cancer but others are very sensitive to risk factors such as passive smoking, active smoking, pollution etc. And they develop lung cancer.

The main reason behind lung cancer is smoking. Smoking damages cells of the lungs, causing abnormal growth. The risk of smoking leads to lung cancer and this risk are greater for people who smoke in large quantities and for extended periods. Continuous exposure to smoke of cigarettes, cigars or pipes increases the chances of lung cancer even though the person himself/herself does not smoke (Jemal, 2011).

In order to prevent lung cancer, it is imperative to avoid active smoking, passive smoking, exposure to excessive smoke, pollution and inhaling substances like cannabis, asbestos, hashish, marijuana etc. Asbestos: They are thing crystals that originate from certain rocks and often are used as insulation or building material for fire proofing. Asbestos can irritate the lungs if inhaled (Jemal, 2011). The smokers exposed to asbestos at work (shipbuilding, mining asbestos insulation or brake repair) are at augmented risk of having lung cancer.

Early Detection

Currently any systematic test for the detecting lung cancer in the general population has not recommended. Most patients should seek care when medical symptoms. There is a recently published study in which the performance of an abdominal (Computed Tomography) at risk individuals could detect early when the tumor is still small and has no symptoms and may improve expectations of cure. However, this research has not been universally accepted and requires further research to confirm its results. There is a possibly in the future, to implement some genetic screening test for this disease (Spitz, Wu, Wilkinson, and Wei, 2006).


A number of tests are done in order to diagnose cancer and determine whether it has invaded other organs or not. A number of tests also determine an effective treatment. A biopsy is the only form of diagnosis for most cancers (Spitz, Wu, Wilkinson, and Wei, 2006). Physicians also may suggest other tests. Radiological examinations can be done to find out the extent to which the cancer has spread. Most frequently used tests to diagnose and make the study extension are:

Clinical Diagnosis

Clinical diagnosis is carried out with a medical history and physical examination that the doctor has to perform, together with diagnostic tests such as an analytic approach and overall chest radiograph (Spitz, Wu, Wilkinson, and Wei, 2006).


Take biopsy for pathological diagnosis. Biopsy is very important in order to diagnose lung cancer. During the biopsy, the doctor removes a portion of tissue from the body, either with a needle through the skin or surgery. The pathologist (a doctor who specializes in studying human tissue) checks the tissue under the microscope for the presence of cancer cells (Spitz, Wu, Wilkinson, and Wei, 2006). After biopsy, the doctor can tell if the cancer is small cell or non-small cell after considering the microscopic appearance. A number of procedures are used to get a tissue from the patient's lungs in order to diagnose and find out the stage of cancer, the procedures used are: (Spitz, Wu, Wilkinson, and Wei, 2006).

Sputum cytology


Radiology ( Computed Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Chest X-ray

Treatment Overview

The treatment method chosen for lung cancer depends on the type of cancer and the exact location where the cancer cells are. There are three main treatment methods for lung cancer, which are: surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.


In this type of treatment method, the tumor in the lung and the lymph node near the chest is removed surgically. A healthy tissue is placed around the area where the tumor was present. This is done if the tumor is very small. However, if the tumor is large then the complete lung is needed to be removed. This method is only applicable in first stage of cancer (Spitz, Wu, Wilkinson, and Wei, 2006).The recovery period after lung surgery depends on the amount of excised lung and the patient's health and age.


Radiation therapy is carefully graded and measured radiation to destroy the cells with cancer. A radiation oncologist is the one who administers radiation therapy. Like surgery, this type of therapy cannot be used to treat a disseminated cancer (except for control Palliative) because radiation also damages…

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