What Causes Lung Cancer?

What is cancer of the lung?

Lung cancer is considered as the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in men (second in the case of women) all over the world.

Lung cancer is known to cause more than a million deaths annually worldwide. It is such a fatal disease and yet it is also one of the most highly preventable forms of cancer.

That reason why it seems to affect quite a number of people all over the world is because of the worldwide prevalence of tobacco smoking, which accounts for about 90 percent of all lung cancer cases.

Lung cancer is characterized by tissue growth that goes out of control and become tumors in the lungs. Lung cancer develops if these tumors become malignant and invade other tissues of the body or metastasize.

This might also allow the entry of the tumor cells into the bloodstream or the lymphatic system which might help in spreading the tumor cells into other sites.

Lung cancer tends to metastasize or spread very early in its development, making it one of the most aggressive forms of cancer as well as one of the most difficult to treat.

The lung is a common area in the body where most other tumors in the body metastasize or spread. The tumor cells, even if they spread or metastasize, are still made up of the same type of cells as from where they originate.

That is why cancers are known or identified from their site of origin. Cancer of the breast that has metastasized in the lungs is still known as breast cancer and is not considered as lung cancer.

What causes lung cancer

The main cause of lung cancer as well as cancer in general is the exposure to harmful carcinogens that help in the development of tumors in the lungs.

Lung cancer may also be caused by exposure to ionizing radiation as well as some forms of viral infection. The exposure to these agents may cause changes in the DNA in the tissue lining of the lungs. But the largest single cause of most lung cancers remains to be tobacco smoking.

Smoking is known to be the main cause of most lung cancers today. Tobacco smokers have about 11- 17 percent risk of developing lung cancer as compared to just above one percent for non-smokers.

Cigarette smoke is known to contain over 60 kinds of carcinogens that are introduced into the body when one smokes. Once inhaled, these carcinogens may immediately cause some changes in the lung tissues.

At the early stages, the body may still be able to cope up and do some repairs to the damage that these carcinogens cause. But with repeated exposure over time, the damage done to the lung tissues may be faster than the ability of the body to repair them.

The damage may reach a stage that will cause the cells to act abnormally and develop tumors that may lead to cancer.

Lung cancer development may be largely prevented if more people stop smoking. Quitting at any age can significantly lower a person’s lung cancer risk.

As more and more people quit smoking, the risk that lung cancer may pose on people may be significantly reduced. As a highly preventable disease, lung cancer may be considered as an affliction that may be brought about by one’s own lifestyle decisions.