Today we talk about the diagnosis of lung cancer.

Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious types of cancer. It is a malignant tumour that grows in an uncontrolled way in one or both of the lungs. This growth can spread beyond the lung by the process of metastasis into nearby tissue or other parts of the body.

The most common symptoms are coughing (including coughing up blood), weight loss, shortness of breath, and chest pains. Other systemic symptoms include weakness, fever, or clubbing of the fingernails.

Most cases are not curable. Worldwide in 2012, lung cancer occurred in 1.8 million people and resulted in 1.6 million deaths.This makes it the most common cause of cancer-related death in men and second most common in women after breast cancer. The most common age at diagnosis is 70 years. Overall, 17.4% of people in the United States diagnosed with lung cancer survive five years after the diagnosis, while outcomes on average are worse in the developing world.

The population segment that is most likely to develop lung cancer is people aged over 50 who have a history of smoking. In China, the age for occurrence sets at over 40.

Tobacco smoking is by far the main contributor to lung cancer. The inhalation of smoke from another’s smoking is a cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers.

Asbestos can cause a variety of lung diseases such as lung cancer. Many houses built before 1990 contain asbestos cement materials, especially in the eaves, internal and external wall cladding, ceilings and fences.

Air pollution affects about 2.4 billion people worldwide, and it is believed to result in 1.5% of lung cancer deaths.

Performing a chest radiograph is one of the first investigative steps if a person reports symptoms that may suggest lung cancer.

CT imaging is typically used to provide more information about the type and extent of disease. But CT imaging should not be used for longer or more frequently than indicated, as the extended surveillance exposes people to increased radiation.

We shall differentiate lung cancer with tuberculosis (TB). The classic symptoms of active TB are a chronic cough with blood-containing sputum, fever, night sweats, and weight loss.

TB is an infectious disease,spread through the air when a patient cough, spit, speak, or sneeze. Tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body.

TB is the number one cause of death from an infectious disease. The most important risk factor globally is HIV; 13% of all people with TB are infected by the virus, closely linked to poverty with overcrowding and malnutrition. Diagnosis of latent TB relies on the tuberculin skin test (TST) or blood tests.

We find similar symptoms of dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing in pneumonia. Pneumonia is usually caused by infection with viruses or bacteria. Chest X-ray, blood tests, and culture of the sputum may help confirm the diagnosis.

Another similar disease we need to look at is bronchiectasis. It is a disease in which there is permanent enlargement of parts of the airways of the lung. Symptoms typically include a chronic cough with mucus production. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing up blood, and chest pain. Bronchiectasis is not as common and the diagnosis is suspected based on a person’s symptoms and confirmed using computed tomography.

Good news in diagnosis, modern technology of using Chest X-ray, CT, and cexfoliative cell examination of sputum has helped with determination of the early stages of lung cancer.

When a patient with possible lung cancer shows worsening signs of high heat and coughing, more detailed enquiry into his causes including family history is necessary, as the process can be both emotionally and practically challenging.

Keeping a healthy lifestyle is critical to prevent causing damage to your lungs. Don’t take tobacco smoking as a fashionable lifestyle. You are not just killing yourself. No one wants to be your passive smokers.

Talk to you next time.

Isherwood

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