Lung Cancer

Table of Content

All You Wanted to Know About
Lung Cancer

What is Cancer?

The body is made up of cells which grow and die in a controlled way. Sometimes, cells keep on growing without control, causing an abnormal growth called a tumour. A tumour can be benign (harmless), premalignant (if left untreated, may lead to cancer) or malignant (progressively worsens and can result in death).

Cancer is a malignant tumour.

What is Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both of the lungs. It interferes with the lung functions and may spread to other organs (metastasis).

How Common is Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is one of the most common malignancies, affecting health or may cause death. In India, it is the leading cause of cancer deaths in men.

What are the Causes/Risk Factors of Lung Cancer?

The causes/risk factors that affect a person's chances of developing lung cancer are as follows:

Tobacco in Different Forms

  • Smoking cigarettes, pipes, cigars, bidis and hookahs, and chewing tobacco or gutka are the most common cause of lung cancer.
  • Smoking filtered or unfiltered cigarettes does not help prevent cancer.
  • The earlier in life a person starts smoking, the more often a person smokes; the more years a person smokes, the greater the risk.
  • If a person has stopped smoking, the risk becomes lower as the years pass.
  • Passive smoking (Second-hand smoke): Being exposed to smoke exhaled from a smoker or from a lit cigarette; pipe or cigar increases the risk especially in children.


Being treated with radiation therapy to the breast or chest for any cancer in past increases the risk.

Occupational Hazard

Working in industries where there is exposure to asbestos, radon (a radioactive gas), chromium, nickel, arsenic, soot or tar increases the risk.

Air Pollution

It contains various chemicals capable of causing cancer.

Lung cancer is more common in older people (<b>over 60 years).

Excessive Alcohol Consumption increases the risk of lung cancer.

Family History

If a close relative has had lung cancer, it may increase the risk.

When smoking is combined with other risk factors, the risk of developing lung cancer is increased.

Some people who don't smoke or have risk factors can also develop lung cancer.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer?

The symptoms of lung cancer may include any of the following:

  • A cough or a chest infection that doesn't get better
  • Trouble breathing
  • Coughing up blood in sputum (phlegm)
  • A hoarse voice or difficulty swallowing
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Feeling tired; bone or joint pains

In case of any of the above symptoms consult a doctor.

How Can Lung Cancer be Detected?

There are some general and some specific tests that need to be done to diagnose and confirm lung cancer like -Chest x-ray, CT/CAT scan, MRI, checking of sputum or lung tissue (biopsy) under microscope, sonography through windpipe etc.

The doctor will decide the tests that are necessary; all of them may not be done

How Can Lung Cancer be Treated?

Various therapies are used for the treatment of cancer e.g. removal of tumour (surgery), killing cancer cells with drugs (chemotherapy) or radiation (radiotherapy).The doctor will decide the treatment depending on the type, severity, lung part affected and condition of the patient.

How Can Lung Cancer be Prevented?

The following protective factors may decrease the risk of lung cancer:

Lifestyle changes

Not smoking or avoiding tobacco in all forms is the best way to prevent lung cancer.

Counselling, nicotine-replacement products (such as nicotine chewing gum, patches), and antidepressant therapy have helped smokers quit smoking and this can decrease the risk of lung cancer.

Keeping away or protecting oneself from second-hand smoke or air pollution by covering nose (mask) may help.


A healthy diet with a variety of foods that includes lots of fruits, vegetables and proteins and limiting alcohol consumption may help lower the risk of lung cancer.


Exercise can improve physical and emotional health and plays a role in keeping the body healthy. People who are physically active have a lower risk of cancer. Regular Yoga or pranayama would help as lung strengthened.

Care to be taken while Working in Industries with Exposure to Known Cancer-Causing Chemicals

  • Keeping exposure to a minimum when possible.

  • Using personal protective equipment, such as gloves, respirators and masks.

  • No food or drink should be taken into, prepared or consumed in any area where such chemicals are present.
  • Hands must be washed immediately after using such chemicals.

Early checkup is important for those with high risk or any signs or symptoms.


Being active and exercising regularly

Healthy diet consisting of vegetables and fruits

Early checkups for symptom that can be caused by lung cancer


Smoking cigarettes, bidis, cigars, pipes, hookahs

Chewing tobacco/gutka

Excessive alcohol intake

For more information, Please Consult The Doctor