Tumors of the lungs and bronchi are traditionally considered together, combining them with the name "bronchopulmonary cancer."
Two forms are distinguished: central lung cancer emanating from the bronchus and peripheral cancer developing from the lung tissue itself.
1. The development of lung cancer can be preceded by chronic inflammatory processes (chronic pneumonia, bronchiectasis, chronic bronchitis, scars in the lung after the previous tuberculosis, etc.).
2. Smoking plays a significant role, since, according to most statisticians, lung cancer in smokers is observed much more often than in non-smokers. So, when smoking 2 or more packs of cigarettes per day, the frequency of lung cancer increases by 15-25 times.
3. Work on asbestos production.
The symptoms of the disease vary depending on whether the primary tumor occurs in the bronchus or in the lung tissue.
In central cancer (cancer of the bronchus), the disease traditionally begins with a dry, coughing cough, and then sputum appears, not infrequently mixed with blood.Very characteristic of this form is the periodic causeless occurrence of inflammation of the lung, the so-called pneumonitis, accompanied by increased cough, high fever, general weakness, and sometimes chest pain. The reason for the development of pneumonitis is a short-term obstruction of the bronchus by a tumor due to the joining inflammation.
In the future, the course of the disease takes a persistent character: persistent cough, increasing weakness, an increase in temperature and chest pain. Respiratory disorders can be significant if the ventilation of the lobe of the lung or the entire lung is impaired.
For peripheral lung cancer that develops in the lung tissue itself, the onset of the disease is almost asymptomatic. In the initial stage, the tumor is not often detected accidentally during the prophylactic examination of the patient when performing a photofluorogram or radiography of the lung. Only with an increase in size, the addition of inflammation or the germination of a bronchus or pleura (lining of the lung) by a tumor, there is a bright symptom of severe pain, cough with an increase in temperature.
In the advanced stage, due to the spread of the tumor into the cavity of the pleura (lining of the lung), cancer pleurisy (inflammation of the pleura) develops with fluid accumulation,not often up to several liters, as a result of which, apart from the above symptoms, shortness of breath appears.
In the early stages of the disease, an external examination of a sick person does little to diagnose cancer.
With extensive damage to the lung tissue, shortness of breath, grayish-pale complexion, weight loss, weakness occur.
X-ray examination - the main method of recognition of lung cancer. When central lung cancer on the radiograph reveals the shadow of the tumor, it is likely to detect a decrease in the airiness of the lung area when the bronchus is blocked by the tumor. It is also possible to detect the defeat of the lymph nodes by tumor metastases. Any doubtful changes on the radiograph require additional examination.
The method relating to radiographic examination - bronchography - allows you to detect the presence of a tumor in the bronchi, the compression of the bronchus by the tumor.
Bronchoscopy is a method that is performed when a tumor is suspected in the bronchial tree, also for taking material (biopsy) for morphological examination.
CT (X-ray computed tomography), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear magnetic resonance imaging) are used to diagnose lung cancer if the diagnosis cannot be made using simpler methods or to clarify the prevalence of the process.
Also under the control of CT is likely to perform puncture (puncture) of a lung tumor to take cells for morphological examination (biopsy).
The final method of instrumental diagnostics is diagnostic thoracoscopy.
For a comprehensive examination of the patient, to exclude the presence of cancer metastases, ultrasound of the liver, CT of the brain, the study of the bones of the skeleton (scintigraphy) is used.
A blood test does not give a clear indication of the presence of cancer, but a decrease in hemoglobin and an increase in ESR can not be ignored.
Determining the level of tumor markers (special blood parameters that increase in the presence of a malignant tumor in the body) is important, but is in addition to the main diagnostic methods and is used more often to control the treatment process.
It should be remembered that identifying any, even malignant disease at an early stage improves the prognosis of the forthcoming treatment.
The choice of treatment depends on the form of cancer, its prevalence, the presence of metastases.
Usually, the treatment of lung cancer is complex and consists of a combination of surgical treatment, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. The order or exclusion of any method is determined depending on the type of tumor and the prevalence of the tumor process.
Depending on the indications during the operation, it is possible to remove one (2) lobes of the lung (lobectomy and bilobectomy), the entire lung (pulmonectomy), and their combination with lypadenectomy (removal of lymph nodes).
In the disseminated form of the disease, chemotherapy is the main method of treatment. As an additional method, radiation therapy is used. Surgical intervention is not very often used.
Metastases affect the lymph nodes of the root of the lung, mediastinum, also more distant groups on the neck, in the supraclavicular region. Also, lung cancer can spread to the liver, bones, brain, and the second lung.The aggressiveness of the tumor in terms of metastasis is determined by its histological structure.
The prognosis for lung cancer depends primarily on the stage of the process, also on the histological picture of the tumor.
Prophylactic measures that should be widely cited include the timely and correct treatment of various inflammatory processes in the bronchi and lungs in order to prevent their transition to chronic forms. A very important preventive measure is quitting smoking. Workers in hazardous industries with high dust levels should use personal protection methods in the form of masks, respirators, etc.