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Lung Cancer

Lung cancer has become the most lethal malignancy in both men and women in developed countries.

Types of Lung cancer:

Lung cancer is the most popular and the most lethal malignancy. It concerns both men and women in developed countries.

Lung cancer causes

Exposure to tobacco is the main cause of lung cancer. That is why about 80% of lung cancer patients are smokers and it plays no role whether you smoke cigarettes, cigars, or pipe.

The other way to be exposed to cigarette smoke is to inhale it involuntarily or passively, which is also called secondhand smoke. There are two types of secondhand smoke:

- Sidestream, which is emanating from a cigarette (or pipe, cigar, hookah).

- Mainstream, which is exhaled by the smoker. It amounts to more than 50% of all secondhand smoke.

Asbestos exposure and exposure to tobacco are the most common causes of lung cancer. Usually 25-30 years can past from the first exposure to asbestos to the first signs of disease. This period is called latency period.

Intensity and duration of asbestos play a big role in development of lung cancer, but to implicate asbestos in causation clinical asbestosis need not be present. A suitable exposure history and the presence of pleural plaque are the main evidences of asbestosis. Sometimes clinical asbestosis is required to be present before asbestos can be implicated in causation of lung cancer.

Such a position makes sense because there are a lot of inflammatory lung diseases that also seem to be linked to an increased risk of lung cancer, for example, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. However, most authorities consider the mineral, asbestos, not the process, asbestosis, to be the proper carcinogen, and attribute the increased incidence of lung cancer seen with clinical asbestosis to the dose response effect between asbestos exposure and both lung cancer and clinical asbestosis.

Secondhand smoke is also a high-risk factor. In increases the chances of development of cancer by 30% .

Ionizing radiation is another cause of lung cancer. First evidences of the link between the disease and radiation were first recorded 500 years ago in underground miners working in close proximity to uranium. The confirmation of this link was also in atomic bomb survivors. The predominant way ionizing radiation results in lung cancer is chronic exposure to radon gas.

Certain metals can also cause lung cancer. The first substance that was identified is an arsenic exposure. Those who work in chrome, nickel and coke oven are at higher risk of lung cancer. There are a lot of other substances that are linked to cancer development, for example the alkylating agent, bis(chloromethyl) ether (bcme). Bcme has been declared a human carcinogen by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) because evidences that link it to small-cell lung cancer were recently found.

Still it is not completely clear whether other inorganic particles can cause lung cancer. Some studies have shown no association between the presence of silicosis and lung cancer, whereas some epidemiologic studies link it to the development of disease. Still smoking is the main risk factor, so permanent smoking cessation will decrease the risk of lung cancer for patients with any occupational exposure.

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