What is Lung Cancer

Lung cancer arises in the lung tissues and develop like other cancers, with the disruption in the normal processes of cell division, leading to abnormal, uncontrolled cell growth into tumour mass.

Any such abnormal growth in the body can directly invade surrounding tissues and organs, like lymph nodes and has the potential to grow back after being removed and spread to different body parts like brain, liver.

    Incidence & Epidemiology
  • Worldwide, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer related deaths, with more than 1 million cases diagnoes yearly
  • Epidemiology of Lung Cancer in India

Main types of Lung Cancer

Small Cell Lung Cancer

  • Adenocarcinoma

  • Squamous cell carcinoma

  • Large Cell carcinoma

  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer


  • Shortness of Breath
    If cancer grows to block the major airways, patients may experience shortness of breath.
  • Coughing up Blood
    Lung cancer can cause bleeding in the airway, which can cause you to cough up blood.
  • Cancer that spreads to other parts of the body (Metastasis)
    Lung cancer often spreads (metastasizes) to other parts of the body, such as the brain
  • Fluid in the Chest
    Pleural Effusion
  • Pain
    Advanced lung cancer that spreads to the lining of a lung or to another area of the body, such as bone, can cause pain

Risk Factors

  • Smoking
    Your risk of lung cancer increases with the number of cigarettes you smoke each day.
  • Expposure to Radon Gas
    Unsafe levels of radon can accumulate in any building, including bones
  • Exposure to Asbestos and other Carcinogens Workplace exposure to asbestos and other substances known to cause cancer such as arsenic, chromium and nickel.
  • Exposure to Second hand Smoke
  • Family history of Lung Cancer


    Screening for Lung Cancer
  • Testing a healthy individual at high risk for developing lung cancer who has no symptoms of lung cancer in hopes of finding lung cancer at a stage that it can be cured.
  • People with an increased risk of lung cancer may consider annual lung cancer screening using low-dose CT scans. This reduce the number of people who die from lung cancer with acceptable risks when performed in a high quality setting.
  • Lung cancer screening is generally offered to people 55 and older who smoked heavily for many years and are otherwise healthy.
  • Imaging Tests
    X-Rays CT Scans MRI Scans PET Scans
  • Sputum Cytology
    If you have cough and are producing sputum, loking at the sputum under the microscope can sometimes reveal the presence of lung cancer cells.
  • Tisue Sample (Biopsy)
    A sample of abnormal cels may be removed by biopsy, which can be performed number of ways
    Bronchoscopy, Needle Biopsy Mediastinoscopy, Thoracocentesis
Stages of Lung Cancer
Stages for Lung Cancer based on number system
Stages Description
  • The tumor size is less than 5 cms and it is limited to lungs only.
  • There is no involvement of lymph nodes.
  • Tumor size is more than 5 cms
  • Lymph nodes are involved
  • Making part of the lung collapse
  • Larger than 7cm with no involvement of lymph nodes
  • In the main airway (bronchus) close to where it divides to go into each lung
  • Any size but there is more than one tumor in the same lobe of the lung
  • spread to chest wall, muscle under the lung (diaphragm), the phrenic nerve, or the layers that cover the heart
  • Complete lung collapse
  • Spread into lymph nodes on the opposite side of the chest
  • Involvement of major structures in the chest include the heart, the wind pipe (trachea), the food pipe (oesophagus) or a main blood vessel
  • Has spread into the chest wall, the muscle under the lung (diaphragm), or the layers that cover the heart (mediastinal pleura and parietal pericardium)
  • If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body such as the liver, bones or the brain.
Lung Cancer Lab tests: NCC Recommendations
    Biomarker testing
    Biomarker testing includes tests of genes or their products (proteins) within cancer cells. It is done because not all lung cancers are alike. Lung cancer can differ between people by which genes are present. Biomarker testing is used to plan treatment for metastatic lung cancers.

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