Lung cancer: Cause & risk factors, Symptoms and Treatment

Lung cancer

 Lung cancer is the main reason for most of the cancer deaths in the world. Cancer in the lungs develops when the normal lung cells change into abnormal cancer cells. These cancer cells rapidly multiply which results in tumors. This tumor grows & destroys the healthy lung cells. It also spreads to other organs through blood & lymph.

 There are two common types of lung cancers classified based on their cell type & how they show under the microscope.

  1. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer(NSCLC)

  2. Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)

NSCLC is the most common type of cancer that we can see in most cases compared with SCLC. But SCLC is very aggressive& spreads quickly.

NSCLC includes Adenocarcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas & Large cell carcinomas

To determine the progression of the disease & let's discuss lung cancer stages in NSCLC.

Lung cancer

OCCULT - Cancer cells exist in lung fluids. 

STAGE 0 - In this stage, cancer cells are found on the lining of the Airways.

STAGE I - Tumor formation is shown in this stage.

STAGE II - Cancer starts spreading to other parts of the body through lymph nodes & blood.

STAGE IV - Tumor has grown bigger & cancer cells are shown in lymph nodes of the same lung or both lungs & may even spread to collar bones.

STAGE V - Tumor may found in both lungs & we can find cancer cells in other parts of the body.

Cause & risk factors:

The cause of lung cancer is not clear. Generally, Smoking & inhalation of tobacco smoke(passive smoking) is the most common cause of lung cancer. 

But there are several cases in which non-smokers are also likely to get this cancer.

Lung cancer cause

Some of the risk factors which need to consider as follows:

  • Inherited genes

  • Prior history of lung cancer

  • Exposure to Harmful chemicals like asbestos( Silicate fibers), 

  • Exposure to radon gas( radioactive gas)

  • Air pollution

  • Exposure to diesel exhaust

  • HIV infection 


Lung cancer may not show any symptoms in its early stage. When symptoms do appear, they may include-

  • Chronic Cough

    Lung cancer

  • Chest pain

  • Trouble swallowing

  • Trouble breathing

  • Hoarseness

  • Loss of appetite

  • Coughing up blood

  • Weight loss

  • Tiredness

  • Facial & neck swelling


Lung cancer treatment is based on the type of cancer, its stage, patient's age, health conditions & his/her preferences.

These are the most common treatment options for lung cancer-

  • Surgery 

  • Chemotherapy

  • Radiation therapy

  • Stereotactic body radiotherapy

  • Palliative care

  • Immunotherapy

  • Targeted drug therapy 

Some of the drugs that are used for lung cancer treatment are -

Afatinib (Gilotrif)

Alectinib (Alecensa)

Bevacizumab (Avastin)

Brigatinib (Alunbrig)

Ceritinib (Zykadia)

Crizotinib (Xalkori)

Dabrafenib (Tafinlar) 

Dacomitinib (Vizimpro)

Erlotinib (Tarceva)

Gefitinib (Iressa)

Lorlatinib (Lorbrena)


You can click on this Link for some of the drugs which are very much effective for lung cancer.

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