Lung Cancer and Facts about Lung Cancer


1. Lung cancer is the most common malignant cancer throughout the world.

Lung cancer is responsible for over 3 million deaths each year. Symptoms of lung cancer, like other forms of asbestos-related conditions, will not manifest for decades after initial exposure. This delay between exposure and symptom enables the cancer to grow longer without treatment, vastly reducing survival rates.

2. Causes of Lung Cancer.

Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of most forms of lung cancer, but exposure to asbestos is a close second.

Exposure to a cancer-causing substance called a carcinogen causes instant damage to the tissues of the lungs, and over time enough damaged tissue becomes a tumor.

3. Growth of Lung Cancer.

The direction the cancer tumor grows greatly influences the outcome of the cancer. If the tumor grows in the direction of the trachea (windpipe) it causes difficulty in breathing, bloody coughs, and/or collapsed lungs. Even though a collapsed lung is a very dangerous condition, it enables early detection of the cancer which provides more opportunity for early successful treatment.

4. Lung Cancer Metastasis.

The process, called metastasis, causes cancerous cells to invade and kill cells in healthy organs, further perpetuating cell death. As the cancer spreads through blood and tissue, it can invade the body’s immune system and cause widespread havoc. Lung cancer is far more dangerous when there are no outward symptoms. As the cancer grows and continues to mutate, it begins to infect the oxygen/blood exchange which allows it to spread to other tissues in the body.

5. Common Types of Lung Cancer: Small Cell Cancer and Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.

There are two common types of lung cancer. The first is the less common “Small Cell Cancer,” which makes up only 20% of reported cases.

Small Cell Cancer begins as a tiny malignancy in the large breathing tubes in the lungs. Upon initial genesis, the growth becomes quite large, mutates rapidly, and eventually overwhelms the breathing process.

The second, much more common lung cancer (70%) is called “Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer,” of which there are five types. These cancers are similar to the smaller lung cancers, but exhibit different growth rates and affect different areas of the lung. The remaining 10% account for a variety of cancers caused mostly by viruses or genetic disorders.

6. Asbestos-related Lung Cancer

Asbestos is one of the best known and widely proliferated carcinogens in existence. Exposure to this substance causes a plethora of health problems, including lung cancer. Although mesothelioma is far more common, lung cancer still poses a major threat. Unfortunately, asbestos-related lung cancer only appears after many years, often without symptoms, and it is not uncommon to suffer multiple asbestos-related afflictions such as mesothelioma and lung cancer simultaneously. People with lung cancer are encouraged not to smoke, for they risk exacerbating their already-perilous condition.

Other Facts on Lung Cancer:

  • Lung cancer is the most common fatal cancer in both men and women: American Lung Association has estimated five-year survival rate of all patients diagnosed with lung cancer is 15 percent.
  • 15 percent of people with lung cancer have never smoked.
  • Cases of lung cancer is more common in developed countries. Factors may include levels of air pollution and a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Lung cancer is more common among certain ethnicities. Supported by the January 2006 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, African-Americans and native Hawaiians are 55 percent more likely than Caucasians to develop lung cancer.

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Lung Cancer Facts and types page updated on 1/11/2012