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Lung Cancer: What You Need to Know

4 mins

The shock began to dial down after a couple of hours. The next thing that was supposed to set in was regret, but how could he regret what he could not point out.

“I don’t smoke, I have never lit a cigar’ he mumbled continuously.

“I am just 52 years old; how can this be?” he soliloquized.

How could it be, was it his diet? Stress? What could have caused this? No amount of preparation could have prepared this construction worker for the diagnosis, what was worse? Mr. Dele (not his real name) had no idea on the next step to take.

Cancer is the growth of abnormal cells that can occur in any part of the body. Lung Cancer is a type of cancer that originates from the lungs.

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, there are 11.6% of recorded cases worldwide and 1.2% of recorded lung cancer cases in Nigeria. (Cancer, 2018)

Types of Lung Cancer

The two main types of Lung Cancer are;

  • Small Cell Lung Cancer (SLSC) also known as Oat Cell Cancer is the type of lung cancer in which the cancer cells originate from the lung tissues.  10-15% of Lung Cancer are SLSC. This type of Cancer tends to spread faster than the second type.
  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) accounts for 80-85% of lung cancer cases.

Causes of Lung Cancer

When lung cancer is mentioned, the first cause to point out is smoking and rightly so. The first on the list is therefore;

  • Smoking- Cigarettes contain carcinogens, a substance that damages the cells lining the lungs. About 10-15% of smokers develop lung cancer. It is advisable not be entangled in the act of smoking because the aftermath can still rear up years after quitting. Quitting at an early age can however lower the risk. Cigarette smoking is not limited to causing cancer of the lungs, it also accounts for other types of cancers.
  • Secondary (passive) Smoking- You don’t need to be a smoker to be prone. Being in an environment where people smoke leaves you liable to lung cancer. Smoke from other people’s pipe or cigar puts you at the same risk as the person smoking.
  • Asbestos- Asbestos is a mineral that occurs in nature, it is used in the production of bricks, pipes, paints and flooring. This is why construction workers and miners are susceptible to lung cancer.
  • Exposure to Radon – The breakdown of Uranium in the soil, water and rock leads to the production of Radon. A good source of radon is the phosphate fertilizer. The radon gas in the atmosphere breaks down into tiny radioactive elements that can cling to the lining of the lungs and give off radiation.
  • Genetics- A history of lung cancer in the family tree is something to watch out for. Family history is a risk factor for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.

Symptoms of Lung Cancer

The symptoms of lung cancer vary with individual and with stages.

The common symptoms include;

  1. Coughing that gets worse or doesn’t go away.
  2. Chest pain.
  3. Shortness of breath.
  4. Wheezing.
  5. Coughing up blood.
  6. Feeling very tired all the time.
  7. Weight loss with no known cause.

Pneumonia and swollen lymph nodes can also occur as the cancer advances. 25% of people who suffer from the disease show no symptoms at all until it is discovered on the Chest X-ray or CT Scan. This is why it is advised to Consult a Doctor for check-up regularly.

Treatment of Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer is not a death sentence especially if detected early. The methods for treating Lung Cancer include

  1. Surgery– a medical procedure in which the cancerous tissue is cut out.
  2. Chemotherapy which involves using drugs to shrink or kill the cancer.
  3. Radiation therapy- also known as radiotherapy involves using high energy rays to kill the cancer
  4. Targeted therapy- involves using drugs to inhibit the growth of the cancerous cells.

Just like Mr. Dele, most patients are clueless as to how they ended up being a victim of lung cancer. Nonetheless, being diagnosed with lung cancer is not the end of the road.

Lung cancer can be prevented, managed and even conquered with the right lifestyle and approach. Living a healthy life and going for regular check-ups are fundamental steps towards keeping this enemy at bay.

Medical Disclaimer: KompleteCare™ aims to improve the quality of life for everyone with fact-based content about the nature of diseases, preventive care, behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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Oghenero Estella Godwin is a Content Writer at KompleteCare. She's passionate about designing, writing and learning new skills. Get in touch with Estella at

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