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Lung cancer: symptoms and signs, cancer rates, treatment and prognosis of life

One of the common pathologies on an oncologist's visit is lung cancer. This is due to the increase in the number of urban carcinogens (dust, gas, heavy metals) and work in professionally harmful enterprises. Consider what is lung cancer, what are the main symptoms and the prognosis of treatment.


What it is?

Lung cancer is a group of malignant neoplasms of the lung, arising from different parts of the epithelial tissue of the bronchi and characterized by rapid growth, early and numerous metastases.

Lungs' cancer

Depending on the location of the primary tumor emit:

  1. Central cancer. It is located in the main and lobar bronchi.
  2. Aerospheric. This tumor develops from the small bronchi and bronchioles.

In addition, pathology is divided into primary - when the tumor develops in one of the sections of the lung, and metastatic - if the primary tumor is located in other organs. Most often in the lungs metastasis cancer of the uterus, kidney, testicles, stomach, thyroid and mammary glands.

Mostly men are ill with this form of cancer (several times more often than women). The urban population is more prone to pathology.

The main factor that contributes to the development of the problem is the effect of various airborne carcinogens. So, constant contact with dust containing metals (bismuth, cobalt, lead, zinc, etc.), working with soot and asbestos - all this is a direct risk of developing a tumor process.

A separate place is given to smoking. A daily cigarette increases the risk of developing a lung tumor 6 or more times. Other contributing factors are chronic diseases of the pulmonary system ( tuberculosis , COPD , etc.), as well as malformations of the bronchial tree.

Important! Promotes the development of radiation and X-ray radiation, if contact with it exceeds the permissible norms (for example, in radiologists if the rules of protection are not followed).

The first signs of lung cancer

The first signs of lung cancer

The clinical picture of lung cancer is determined by various factors. Each form has its own characteristics, depending on the type of tumor, location and other parameters.

The first symptoms of lung cancer often have no direct connection with the respiratory system. Patients for a long time turn to different specialists of a different profile, are examined for a long time and, accordingly, receive the wrong treatment.

The majority of patients among the first signs of lung cancer mention the following symptoms:

  1. Low-grade fever that does not change during the day and exhausts the patient very much. These symptoms are associated with internal intoxication of the body.
  2. Unmotivated weakness and fatigue.
  3. Itching of the skin. Sometimes this symptom may be the first manifestation of lung cancer. The patient develops dermatitis or painful itching of the skin, while older people even have growths on the skin. Such manifestations of the tumor may be associated with the allergic effect of cancer cells on the body.
  4. Swelling and weakness of muscles.
  5. Disorders of the central nervous system. These abnormalities may begin well before cancer is detected. The patient is disturbed by dizziness, sensitivity and coordination is disturbed. Elderly people may develop dementia.

Typical signs of damage to the respiratory system will appear much later, when the tumor captures a certain amount of lung and begins to massively destroy healthy tissue. If you find similar and obscure symptoms, you should consult with a specialist, and do not forget about the passage of the planned annual x-ray.

Symptoms and signs of lung cancer

Symptoms and signs of lung cancer

As the tumor process progresses, the patient has a variety of both pulmonary and extrapulmonary symptoms and signs of lung cancer:

1. Cough. At first, it may be dry and usually worries at night. Even painful coughing attacks do not become a reason to visit a doctor, because patients write him off as a smoker’s usual cough. Subsequently, sputum begins to stand out: mucous or purulent with an unpleasant odor.

2. Hemoptysis. More often than not, the blood in the sputum makes the patient wary and makes him go to the doctor. This symptom is associated with the germination of the tumor in the blood vessels.

3. Pain in the chest. When the tumor process affects the pleura (lining of the lung), where the nerve fibers and endings are located, the patient develops an excruciating pain in the chest. They are acute and aching, constantly disturbing or dependent on breathing and physical exertion, but most often they are located on the side of the affected lung.

Lung Cancer Symptoms 4. Dyspnea and feeling short of breath.

5. Temperature. It keeps at the level of subfebrile values ​​or jumps to high numbers, especially in the later stages.

6. Manifestations of Itsenko-Cushing's syndrome (obesity, increased hair growth, pink stripes on the skin). This is due to the fact that some types of cancer cells can synthesize ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone). Excessive synthesis of this hormone causes similar symptoms.

7. Anorexia (weight loss), vomiting, problems with the work of the nervous system - such signs may disturb the patient if the tumor synthesizes an antidiuretic hormone.

8. Disorders of calcium metabolism (vomiting, lethargy, vision problems, osteoporosis). These symptoms appear if cancer cells synthesize substances similar to parathyroid hormone, which regulates calcium metabolism.

9. Syndrome compression of the superior vena cava (saphenous vein protrude, neck and shoulder girdle swelling, problems with swallowing appear). This symptom develops during the rapid development of the tumor process.

With the defeat of nerve fibers, paralysis and paresis of the muscles of the shoulder girdle, phrenic nerves develop, and the process of swallowing is disturbed. If lung cancer metastases to the brain, any neurological disorders and death of the patient may occur.

Important! Sometimes patients worry about how the symptoms of lung cancer look at stage 4. It is impossible to clearly predict how the disease will develop. Its manifestations depend on the type of cancer, the presence of metastases, the size of the tumor and a number of other factors.

Before death, in patients with lung cancer stage 4, symptoms of cancer intoxication, severe neurological disorders, paresis and paralysis, cachexia, edema, swallowing disorders, etc. are observed.

Stages of lung cancer and metastasis

According to the international TNM classification, 4 stages of lung cancer are distinguished. It takes into account: T - the size of the primary tumor, N - the presence of regional metastases, M - the presence of distant metastases:

  1. Stage 1 - a tumor of small size of one of the sections of the bronchus, without metastases;
  2. Stage 2 - a small single tumor that does not sprout into the pleura, with a few regional metastases;
  3. Stage 3 - the tumor extends beyond the lung with numerous regional metastases;
  4. Stage 4 - a tumor beyond the borders of the lung, engulfs the pleura and nearby organs. There are many distant and regional metastases.

Metastases are secondary foci of tumor cell growth. These cells are spread with the lymph flow through different organs and give rise to a new colony of cancer cells there.

Stage Lung Cancer In addition to this classification, when characterizing a cancer process, mention is made of the features of its growth (endo or exobronchial) and location (apical, basal, central, etc.).

The lungs are organs with good blood supply and lymphatic drainage, so it quickly metastasizes to other structures. Most often it is the brain, liver and second lung.

By its histological structure (cell structure), lung cancer is divided into:

  • Small cell cancer. Differs in sharp aggressiveness and quickly gives metastases. It occurs in 15-20% of cases;
  • Non-small cell. This includes all other forms.

Lung cancer diagnostic methods

Diagnosis of lung cancer is carried out in several stages. When pathological organs are detected on fluorography or X-rays of the chest (focus, compaction, lung volume reduction, lung pattern enhancement, etc.), images are assigned in additional projections with a multiple increase in different phases of the respiratory cycle.

The patient undergoes computed tomography to clarify the presence of metastases and the condition of the lymph nodes.

Bronchoscopy is an effective method of investigation, but not for all types of tumors. So, it is absolutely useless to detect peripheral cancer.

If necessary, carry out endoscopic bronchological examination, and in case of peripheral cancer, they can clarify the diagnosis using a transthoracic (through the chest) targeted biopsy under x-ray control.

If all of these methods do not provide an opportunity to diagnose, then resort to thoracotomy (open the chest). At the same time, an urgent histological examination is carried out, and, if necessary, the center of tumor growth is immediately removed. Thus, the diagnostic procedure immediately goes into the surgical treatment of the disease.

Lung cancer treatment regimens

Lung cancer treatment regimens

Several specialists take part in the selection of a treatment regimen: an oncologist, a therapist and a radiologist. Therapy depends on the stage, the histological structure of the tumor, the presence of metastases and the patient's condition.

There are radiation, surgical, combined (radiation plus operative), chemotherapy and complex treatment. If a patient has small cell lung cancer, then radiation and chemotherapy are chosen.

In other types of cancer, surgery is preferred in combination with radiation therapy. At stage 4 cancer chemotherapy and maintain the quality of life of the patient.

Surgery is contraindicated in severe patients with severe intoxication, with the germination of the tumor in the pleura and the sternum wall, with the detection of metastases in the mediastinum and some other cases.

How many live? (forecast)

The prognosis depends on the type of cancer, the presence of metastases and the stage at which the treatment was started. Life expectancy is largely determined by the state of the intrathoracic lymph nodes. Patients with metastases to regional lymph nodes usually die within two years.

Five-year survival among operated patients with lung cancer at stages 1 and 2 is about 60 and 40%, respectively. In the treatment of the disease in 3 stages, this figure drops to 25%.

How many people live with lung cancer in 4 stages depends on its type and the presence of metastatic foci. The statistics are harsh, the five-year prognosis for such patients is no more than 5%.

Lung cancer is a serious disease that is difficult to detect in its early stages due to non-specific symptoms and the lack of a clear clinical picture of the disease.

It is possible to prevent and reduce the risk of lung cancer by quitting smoking, treating chronic lung pathology and getting rid of occupational hazards. In addition, we should not forget about routine checks of the lungs using X-ray or X-ray.


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