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  • Writer's pictureKenley Herrington

Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer is the third most prominent type of cancer in the United States and causes more death than any other type of cancer (Lung cancer statistics 2021). Smoking is a widely known issue for adults and is the main cause of lung cancer. An estimate of 80% of lung cancer deaths are due to smoking cigarettes (Lung cancer causes: Lung cancer in Non-Smokers).

How it forms- Lung Cancer mainly forms through the smoking of tobacco or even from inhaling secondhand smoke. According to the CDC, “nearly 14 of every 100 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older (14.0%) currently* smoked cigarettes,” as of 2019 (Current cigarette smoking among adults in the United States 2020). This means that about 34.1 million adults smoked cigarettes, and of these adults, about 16 million had a “smoking-related disease” in 2019 (Current cigarette smoking among adults in the United States 2020). Our bodies do not respond well to inhaling chemicals other than oxygen; therefore, one is more at risk of developing lung cancer if they are inhaling chemicals, especially tobacco. Other high-risk factors include the exposure and inhalation of radon, which is a radioactive gas, or asbestos which are mineral fibers commonly used in housing insulation (Lung cancer causes: Lung cancer in Non-Smokers). Being in an environment where exhaust and air pollution is inhaled can also be a huge cause. These dangerous environments such as a workplace where workers are frequenting daily, can put a huge toll on those workers’ health. Genetic causes- The DNA in lung cells can also be a cause of cancer for many people. Cells growing abnormally and causing cancer can be due to “genes that help cells grow, divide, or stay alive are called oncogenes,” or “genes that help control cell division or cause cells to die at the right time are called tumor suppressor genes,” (Lung cancer causes: Lung cancer in Non-Smokers). However, cancer does not always come from gene changes, it can also come from genetic mutations that are directly inherited from their parents. Sometimes, people “inherit a reduced ability to break down or get rid of certain types of cancer-causing chemicals in the body, such as those found in tobacco smoke,” or even “faulty DNA repair mechanisms that make it more likely they will end up with DNA changes” (Lung cancer causes: Lung cancer in Non-Smokers). Lastly, acquired gene changes are caused from exposure to chemicals such as smoke or chemicals. These gene changes can occur over one's lifetime. Overall, the genes we get from our family have an important role in our health and the development of certain diseases and it is important to stay away from anything that could affect these genes in order to keep one healthy. Symptoms- Some of the symptoms of Lung Cancer according to the CDC, include:

  • Coughing that gets worse or doesn’t go away.

  • Chest pain.

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Wheezing.

  • Coughing up blood.

  • Feeling very tired all the time.

  • Weight loss with no known cause

(What are the symptoms of lung cancer? 2021) Treatments- Depending on the stage of cancer, and whether or not it is a small cell or non-small cell, lung cancer is typically treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or targeted therapy or a combination. For small-cell cancer, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are the most common, (How is lung cancer diagnosed and treated? 2021).

Works Cited -


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