For those at risk of developing lung cancer, or for those who have been recently diagnosed, coming to terms with what lung cancer can do to the human body can be a difficult process. The term lung cancer is bandied about quite a bit, but not all people actually know what a diagnosis of lung cancer will entail or what effects it can have.
What is Cancer?
When abnormal cells grow out of control, these clusters of cells form cancerous tumors. In the case of lung cancer, these clusters of cells tend to develop in the lining of the lungs, either in the pleura or the bronchi.
What Happens in the Lungs?
As lung cancer develops, scarring and tumors can manifest in the lungs. As the disease progresses, patients often require oxygen therapy to assist with proper lung function.
What are the Symptoms of Lung Cancer?
Lung cancer can cause shortness of breath, chest and back pain, persistent coughing, weight loss, and the accumulation of fluid in the lungs.
Lung cancer can also cause problems throughout the entire body. Neurological symptoms include loss of moblity and memory loss. The pain can also become intense, causing patients to need painkillers or other pain management methods.
Lung cancer is diagnosed by stages. Generally speaking, in Stage I, the cancer has not spread past the lungs. In Stages II and III, the cancer has spread throughout the chest cavity. In Stage IV, the final stage, the cancer has metastasized to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes or brain.