Free Lung Cancer Case Study Example
Cancer, be it any form, is dangerous and life threatening. Lung cancer currently is one of the leading cancers seen worldwide. According to the reports on estimation of Lung cancer cases by the American Cancer Society, in 2015 there will be approximately 221,200 new cases in USA. Also lung cancer is the second most common cancer in the world (not considering skin cancer) in both males and females after prostate and breast cancer respectively (American Cancer Society, 2015).
A number of factors are responsible for the causation of lung cancer. In some cases the causative factor may be single or sometimes it is a combination of multiple factors which leads to the disease. Some of these factors are actual threats and the others are potential risk factors which are potent enough to cause cancer. At times, it is the actual risk factor that causes the disease and the potential ones are responsible for keeping the disease at its peak or its further aggravation.
ACTUAL RISK FACTORS:
Tobacco: This is known as the leading cause of cancer seen worldwide. In UK around 86% cases of lung cancer are a result of tobacco smoking, out of which 83% is seen in tobacco smokers and rest 3% are seen in non smokers who were exposed to the environmental tobacco smoke. In a cohort study it was shown that the people who smoke have 26 times higher chances of developing lung cancer than the people who do not. According to some meta and pool analysis, smoking is linked with squamous cell and small cell carcinoma rather than the other forms.
Occupational exposure: After smoking the next leading cause for lung cancer is occupational exposure to asbestos, silica, coal dust and Arsenic compounds. People working in iron and glass wool industries are also equally at risk. The occurrence of the disease although depends on the duration and the quantity of the inhaled dust. The people working in these factories do not develop the disease in few days or months, it requires the exposure of the person for years to acquire the disease.
Positive Family History: The chances of developing lung cancer is as high as 82% in patients who have a sibling affected with the same, or the patients with parents having lung cancer have a fair chance of around 25-37% higher than others of having the disease.
Previous history of Cancer: Survivors of any other form of cancer are at a greater risk of developing lung cancer. Patients who survived breast cancer and had to take radiotherapy for the same are prone to develop this form of cancer as a result of the side effects of radiotherapy. But due to the current progress in the medical field, the chances have decreased significantly. Patients of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma are 5 times more susceptible to lung cancer. In fact almost all the different forms of cancers are liable to develop lung cancer.
Previous lung disease: Patients with a positive history of tuberculosis, pneumonia, COPD and silicosis are directly proportional to the chances of having lung cancer.
POTENTIAL RISK FACTORS:
HIV: In patients who are HIV positive the compromised immune system can be weak enough to give way to any kind of disease. The immune system is so broken down that they can acquire any disease they come in to contact with. Lung cancer can thus be one of those cases.
Air Pollution: According to a study, about 7-8% of lung cancers in UK are a result of environmental pollution. Similarly, indoor pollution can be equally dangerous. People who use coal for cooking at home have double risk of developing lung cancer than others. Thus even who are non smokers, but use coal as fuel for cooking are equally at risk like those who actually smoke. In many countries till date, large number of people uses coal for cooking. The number is higher in developing countries and in villages.
Other diseases and conditions: Patients who have undergone organ transplantation are at double risk, at the same time patients with SLE and Rheumatoid Arthritis are at greater risk (Cancer Research UK, 2015). Obesity, diabetes and sedentary lifestyles are other factors that also up to some extent increase the risk of lung cancer. However, these factors are not directly related but may contribute to the occurrence of lung cancer.
ANATOMICAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL CHANGES
Anatomically there may be a tumorous growth at the site of the cancer. The site can be trachea, bronchus or bronchioalveolar site. In case of tracheal cancer, the signs and symptoms will be dry cough, wheezing, breathlessness, hoarse voice, dysphagia, recurrent chest infection and hemoptysis. Commonly seen tracheal cancers are of two types, namely, adenoid cystic carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma (Macmillan.org.uk, 2015). Bronchial tumor on the other hand is also called as Bronchial Adenoma, it consists of various types of tumors like carcinoids, cylindromas, mucoepidermoid carcinoma, mucous gland adenoma and seromucinous tumor. All these forms arise from the mucous gland of the bronchi mainly (Webmd.com, 2015). The symptoms are dyspnoea, stridor, wheezing, cough, hemoptysis etc. The third type which is a rare type was also previously called as Bronchioalveolar Carcinoma is nowadays known as Adenocarcinoma in situ. This is mostly non invasive type. The strange fact about this type of cancer is that it mostly affects non smokers. Symptoms are although similar to the other forms of lung cancer. Persistent cough, chest pain and hemoptysis are the common presenting complaints. But being very rare and exhibiting usual symptoms, it is often mistaken for pneumonia or bronchitis. Thus also called as ‘masquerader’ (About.com health, 2015).
SQUAMOUS CELL LUNG CANCER SPREAD
Metastatic cancers have a predilection for spreading to different parts of the body. That is what makes this form of cancer more dangerous and risky. The more the cancer spreads, more difficult the control becomes. The squamous cell lung cancer has a tendency to spread to the following parts of the body:
Bones (Cancerreasearchuk.org, 2015)
Lymph nodes spread: The cancer may spread to the lymph nodes responsible for draining the lungs. The cancerous cell will get drained along with the lymph into the surrounding lymph nodes through the lymph channels thus lodging the cancerous cell in to the node.
Brain: The spread of cancer to brain can occur by the blood stream or the lymphatic channels (About.com health, 2015).
Liver: The cancerous cells will have a tendency to spread to the liver because of the proximity of the lungs to the liver. That is, the cancer will spread by the means of local invasion. Also the draining lymph nodes of both lungs and liver are same, as because they share the same lymph nodes, the chances of spread are also more.
Bones: The metastases to the bones also occur by the same route that is via the blood stream. The cancerous cells lodge at the site of bone which then proliferates, forming tumor and later turning in to cancer itself.
Lung cancer like any other form of cancer is a chronic disease requiring special attention and care. Metastasis may not be curable, but the disease is preventable. Taking appropriate and timely measures may reduce the risk of the disease even in the patients having a genetic predisposition or positive family history. Occurrence of a chronic disease is painful not just for the patient, but also for the family and the society. The modern and sedentary lifestyles are contributing to the development of the diseases, mainly chronic. Having an active life will make people physically fit and less prone to diseases (Health.gov.bc.ca, 2015). Lung cancer in particular can be prevented by one’s own approach and will. The major cause being tobacco is something that can be controlled by individual efforts. Although government of almost every country is doing its bit to control tobacco usage among its people. Eradication programmes are being undertaken at different levels. Whole hearted attempts are being made, steps are taken to control passive smoking among non smokers by prohibiting smoking at public places, giving statutory warnings on the packets of cigarettes, making laws against smoking, regulating the age of buying tobacco etc., hopefully the incidences of lung cancer can be controlled by these measures.
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