Big C

Lung cancer – definition, types, and causes

Lung cancer – definition, types, and causes

As of 2020, statistics have shown that around 228,820 individuals in the country have lung cancer. This number includes 116,300 men and 112,529 women. Despite the fact that there are many who suffer from this condition, not many are aware of the causes of lung cancer. Read on to know some vital information about lung cancer.

What is lung cancer?

When we talk about cancer, it is not just one disease. It is more an umbrella term that covers a vast range of diseases caused due to abnormal multiplication of cells in the body. When this multiplication starts in the lungs and spreads to the other parts of the body, it is known as lung cancer.

Lungs are an essential organ as it absorbs oxygen from the air that we inhale and removes carbon dioxide from the body. This entire process takes place in the alveoli, which is part of the lung. Typically, lung cancer begins to manifest in the lining of the bronchi and alveoli.

Types of lung cancer

There are many types of lung cancer based on where they start and how it manifests in the body. Read on to know the types of lung cancers.

  • Non-small cells lung cancer (NSCLC)

NSCLC makes up for about 80% to 85% of lung cancers that are diagnosed in individuals. But, this is further divided into subtypes, one of which is Adenocarcinoma. Adenocarcinoma is the type of lung cancer where the cancer forms in cells that secrete mucus. This type of cancer is common in people who smoke but can also be found in people who do not smoke.

There are other subtypes of NSCLC, such as Squamous Cell Carcinoma, Large Cell (undifferentiated) Carcinoma, and Adenosquamous Carcinoma.

  • Small cell lung cancer (SCLC)

This type of lung cancer makes up only 10% to 15% of the total cases of lung cancer. SCLC is also known as Oat Cell Cancer. It grows at a faster rate, which is why many who are diagnosed with this form of cancer are usually in the advanced stage.

  • Lung carcinoid tumors:

This type of lung cancer accounts for less than 5% of total lung cancer cases. These cancers start in the neuroendocrine cells that are found in the lungs.

What are the causes of lung cancer?

There is no way to find the exact cause of cancer, but a few factors play a critical role in developing lung cancer. Read on to know the factors that cause lung cancer.

  • Smoking: One of the leading causes of lung cancer is smoking, contributing to a majority of lung cancer cases. Even individuals who do not smoke but are exposed to second-hand smoke can develop lung cancer. Therefore, smoking should be avoided or cut down as a precautionary measure to avoid developing lung cancer.
  • Exposure to chemicals: Another reason individuals develop lung cancer is because of exposure to toxic chemicals. For example, those who work with asbestos, diesel, and other chemicals are more prone to developing lung cancer.
  • Genetic changes: Another common cause of cancer is a genetic mutation that has occurred in the individual’s DNA. Unfortunately, no research has been able to figure out the reason for this genetic mutation.
  • Genetic predisposition: Some individuals inherit genetic mutations that cause the development of cancer either at an early age or later in life. Individuals with a family history of cancer have higher chances of developing lung cancer.

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