Lung cancer is a chronic disease that originates and affects the lungs of a patient. These are two identical sponge-like organs in the chest cavity just above the diaphragm. They function to absorb oxygen from the atmosphere during inhalation and release carbon dioxide during exhalation. Like most other forms of cancer, this disorder occurs when the old cells grow and replicate uncontrollably. This is because of a sudden change in the genetic code of the healthy cells. Over time, the abnormal cells accumulate to form tumors, which makes it difficult for the patient to breathe normally. The patient can lose his life unless he gets proper treatment.
Dr. Paolo Boffetta – How do people get lung cancer?
Dr. Paolo Boffetta is an epidemiologist from Italy who is known throughout the world for his research on cancer. He is a University of Turin graduate and has over three decades of experience. Throughout his career, he has held important positions in some of the most prestigious medical institutions in the world. These include the American Health Foundation, US National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and Columbia University.
He has led teams of medical specialists in several European medical institutions. These include the International Agency for Research on Cancer, Karolinska Institute, and the German Cancer Research Center. Currently, he is Professor at Stony Brook University in the USA.
He explains most people are aware that cigarette smoking is the primary cause of lung cancer. Chain smokers are more vulnerable to suffer from this disease than others. It depends on how many cigarettes they consume over a period of time. Even those around them who inhale the fumes fall sick to this condition. However, not many people know lung cancer can also spread and affect them in the following three ways:
- Poisonous gases which car manufacturing industries and power plants emit into the atmosphere causing pollution,
- Exposure to radon gas which decaying uranium from products releases into the atmosphere, and
- Inhaling the microscopic fibers which an insulating material known as asbestos emits into the air.
Symptoms and treatments of lung cancer
He further points out that people suffering from lung cancer normally exhibit certain common symptoms. These signs may be difficult for doctors to detect in their diagnosis initially but can develop over time. They include persistent coughs with traces of blood, breathing difficulties, headaches, chest pain, and weight loss. However, when the doctors confirm their patients are suffering from lung cancer, they generally prescribe any one of the following three treatments:
- Pneumonectomy surgery
- Radiation therapy involves applying high-power energy beams to destroy the cancer cells, or
- Chemotherapy, where the patients take certain drugs to kill the cancer cells.
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Dr. Paolo Boffetta sums up by saying lung cancer can be fatal for people suffering from this chronic disease. Patients should see doctors if they exhibit specific symptoms like persistent coughs, headaches, chest pains, or breathing difficulties. Moreover, they should quit smoking and avoid exposure to air pollution, radon gas, and microscopic fibers of asbestos. On the recommendation of their doctors, they can opt for surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation treatment after a complete health diagnosis by medical experts.