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Essay on Lung Cancer

I. Description of the disease/condition

Lung cancer is a serious disease which has the signs and symptoms of cancer that starts growing in the lungs. In other words, lung cancer is a disease in which cancerous cells start to grow intensively out of control, taking over healthy cells in lungs of the human body.

The patients with lung cancer have the following signs and symptoms: “a consumptive and persistent cough, chest pain, coughing up blood, short of breath, wheezing, voice loss, fever, getting sick with pneumonia and bronchitis a lot, swollen neck and face, weight loss, loss of appetite, feeling tired” (American Lung Association, Official Website, 2013).

The major cause of lung cancer: cigarette smoking, breathing second-hand smoke, radon and asbestos exposure. Some other toxic products that can cause lung cancer include “uranium, arsenic, some petroleum products” (American Lung Association, Official Website, 2013).

II. Current statistics of those affected

It has been revealed that lung cancer causes much more deaths than other common cancers, including colon, breast or prostate. Actually, “lung cancer causes the most cancer deaths worldwide, accounting for 1.3 million deaths annually,” according to American Lung Association (2013). It has been found that today, “approximately 373,489 Americans are living with lung cancer” (American Lung Association, Official Website, 2013). Besides, the statistics show that lung cancer is one of the leading cancer killers of people in the United States, and practically half of patients with lung cancer die within a year or less of being diagnosed by healthcare professionals. The American Cancer Society has reported that there may be 226,160 new cases of lung cancer in 2012 based on medical records.

III. Explanation on how the various body systems are affected by the disease/condition

When a person suffers from lung cancer, he/she has some abnormal cells that tend to cluster together to create a tumor. Cancer cells have a tendency to grow without order or control, destroying the healthy lung tissue located around them. These types of tumors can be defined as malignant tumors. The various body systems are affected by lung cancer when a tumor is metastasizing to other organs. For example, a tumor may press on the esophagus. In this case, a person with lung cancer has problems with swallowing. Besides, lung cancer may cause shoulder pain, numbness in arms. These signs indicate on the availability of a tumor in the upper part of the lungs. In fact, cancer originated in lungs may be spread to any organ of human body. However, the most common organs are “the brain, liver and bones” (Walker, 2006, p. 29). For example, a person with brain metastases experiences severe headaches and even vomiting. The location of tumor affects the ability to move, vision, balance, speaking, as well as the ability to focus (Walker, 2006).

IV. Some medications/treatments that are available

Lung cancer is often hard to treat. There are different medications/treatments for different types of lung cancer are available. As a rule, physicians should decide on treatment for a particular type of lung cancer. In this case, he/she will take into consideration not only the type of cancer this or that patient has, but also the patient’s age and general state of health, the stage the lung cancer, and its spread to other organs of the body.

There are several types of treatments: surgery (when one of the lungs is removed), chemotherapy (pills, intravenous drip and injections), radiation therapy procedures (killing cancer cells by high-energy radiation), targeted therapies (Gefitinib (Iressa) and erlotinib (Tarceva)) and photodynamic therapy (Scott, 2012).

References

American Lung Association. Official Website. (2013).  Lung Cancer. Retrieved from:< http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/lung-cancer/>

Scott, W. (2012). Lung Cancer: A Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment. ADDICUS BOOKS Incorporated.

Walker, J. (2006).Lung Cancer: Current And Emerging Trends in Detection And Treatment. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group.