Lung Cancer Stages
Lung cancer is caused due to abnormalities in the functioning of cells. There are genes that regulate the growth of cells. Normally, cells divide when there is need to produce new cells. But, when cells start multiplying at a rapid rate which cannot be controlled then it gives rise to cancer. When we speak about cancer, we are referring to malignant tumors. Benign tumors are not responsible for cancer.
The primary function of lungs is to exchange gases with bloodstream and the air we breathe. Carbon-di-oxide from the bloodstream is removed and is replaced with pure oxygen in the bloodstream. If we study the structure of the lungs, we see that the right lung is divided into three lobes or parts whereas the left lung id divided into two lobes or parts and there is a small structure present which is called as lingula.
This lingula is corresponding to the middle part or lobe on the right lung. Bronchi are the main air passage that arises from trachea which is the windpipe. The bronchi further divides into bronchioles which are smaller airways. Bronchioles further divides into tiny sacs called as alveoli where the actual exchange of gases takes place. The lungs are protected by the rib cage.
Stages of Lung Cancer:
It is important to know the stages of cancer as it helps in determining the proper treatment. Treatments are decided according to the spread of cancer. It is also important to consider the age, sex and medical history of the patient before giving any treatment. Stages also show the presence or absence of metastases in the lymph nodes. Metastasis is defined as the process of spreading of cancerous cells to other body parts. There are two types of systems that determine the staging of cancer- NSCLC system and SCLC system. . In NSCLC system stages of cancer are assigned as per the severity whereas SCLC system uses two-tiered system.
There are four stages of cancer. In the first stage of cancer, the cancerous cells are confined or restricted only to the lungs. Hence, removing the malignant tumor in the first stage of cancer is quite easy because the doctor has to operate only on the lungs.
The second and third stages of cancer show metastasis. During these stages the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. Cancer is quite difficult to treat when it has spread to the lymph nodes. Various tests have to be conducted to check the metastasis of cancer. Radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery are three widely used treatments to cure cancer.
The fourth stage of cancer is the last stage. In this stage, the cancerous cells have invaded most of the body parts. It is next to impossible to cure cancer when it has reached last stage. Hence, early detection of cancer is indispensable.
It's a two-tiered system. Limited Stage (LC) of SCLC system refers to cancer confined to a particular area. In this cancer i.e. lung cancer, LS is restricted to the lungs only. It is similar to the stage One of the NSCLC system. Extensive Stage (ES) denotes metastasis. It indicates that the cancer has spread to other body parts.
Causes of Lung Cancer:
Smoking is one of the major causes of lung cancer. The people who smoke have higher chances of developing lung cancer than people who do not smoke. This has been proved. So, quitting the habit of smoking will definitely reduce the chances of developing lung cancer and will lead to a healthy lifestyle.
Lung cancer is one of the cancers that affects millions of people around the world. It's the cancer having maximum number of cases recorded.