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Lung Cancer – Four Vital Questions That Could Save Your Life

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When abnormal cells grow uncontrollably in the lung tissue causing tumor(s) which are malignant, we have a condition called lung cancer. Tumors could also be benign and thus not usually life threatening. Carcinoma of the lungs usually starts in the epithelial tissues of the lung and can be of two types - small cell lung carcinoma and non-small cell lung carcinoma. What type will affect the treatment path to be followed. Here are some basic yet key questions you could ask your doctor that could make a critical difference in your treatment and management of the condition:

1. Besides the blood-stained cough and shortness of breath, what other symptoms am I likely to experience?

It is a sad fact that symptoms of lung cancer appear only at the later stages of the disease and also depend upon the size and location of the tumor in the lung. However, it is possible that a patient will experience one or more of the following symptoms:
• Chest pain
• Hoarseness of voice
• Wheezing
• Change in the chronic cough
• A persistent cough
• Shoulder pain
• Bone pain
• Unexplained weight loss
• Loss of appetite
• Fatigue
• Headaches
• Difficulty swallowing
• Abscesses
• Pneumonia
• Clubbing of fingernails
• Depression
• Blurred vision
• Seizures
• Weakness or loss of sensation in parts of the body

2. What could be the cause and risk factors of my lung cancer?

Causes and risk factors for lung cancer could be any of the following:
• Smoking
• Exposure to second-hand smoke
• Excessive alcohol
• Exposure to Asbestos fiber
• Exposure to Radon gas
• Lung diseases
• Prior history of lung cancers
• Air pollution
• Certain viruses
• Age and race

3. What does metastasis mean?

When the cancer starts to spread by abnormal cell division thereby increasing the total number of cancer cells at that location, metastasis is said to have occurred. These cancer cells posses the ability to infiltrate surrounding normal tissues in the local area, forming a new tumor(s). Metastasis can be local (in the original area of first occurrence) or distant (spread to another organ).

4. What is staging?

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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