en Arabic

What Is Lung Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, and Risk Factors

what is lung cancer

Lung cancer – two words that strike fear and uncertainty into the hearts of many. It’s a disease that affects millions worldwide, causing significant damage to both physical and emotional well-being. But what is lung cancer? And how is lung cancer diagnosed? 

Read on as we get into the details of the disease, its causes, symptoms, risk factors, diagnosis methods, and lung cancer treatment by stage.

What is lung cancer?

Lung cancer is a formidable adversary that affects the delicate tissues of our lungs. Lung cancer occurs when abnormal lung cells grow uncontrollably and form tumours. These tumours can interfere with the normal functioning of the lungs, making it difficult for them to carry out their vital tasks of oxygenating our blood.

There are two main types of lung cancer

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) – NSCLC is the most common type, accounting for 85% of cases.

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Although less prevalent, SCLC grows more aggressively and has a higher chance of spreading beyond the lungs.

Lung cancer symptoms

Lung cancer symptoms can differ relying on the stage and type of cancer. In the early stages, many people may not experience any noticeable symptoms. However, as the disease progresses, certain signs may begin to manifest.

  • One of the common lung cancer symptoms is a persistent cough that doesn’t disappear or worsen over time. This cough may produce blood or rust-coloured phlegm. 
  • Chest pain or discomfort can also occur, along with shortness of breath and wheezing.
  • Weight loss without trying and fatigue are other potential symptoms of lung cancer. Some people may develop recurrent respiratory infections like bronchitis or pneumonia. 
  • Additionally, hoarseness in the voice and swelling in the neck or face can indicate more advanced stages of lung cancer.

How is lung cancer diagnosed?

From non-invasive imaging tests to cutting-edge genetic analyses, here’s a comprehensive look at the diagnostic tools and methods used in identifying lung cancer:

Imaging Tests

X-rays provide a quick overview of lung health, highlighting any abnormalities requiring further investigation.

CT Scans: With detailed cross-sectional images, CT scans offer a closer look at lung structures, aiding in detecting tumours and growths.

MRI Scans: Employing powerful magnets and radio waves, MRI scans offer high-resolution images, enhancing the visibility of lung tissues for accurate diagnosis.


Tissue Biopsy: A small tissue sample is extracted from the lungs when a suspected lung cancer diagnosis needs confirmation. Pathologists meticulously analyze these samples under a microscope to determine whether cells are cancerous or benign.

Sputum Cytology

Sample Collection: Patients must cough up sputum (phlegm or mucus) for analysis.

Microscopic Examination: The collected sample is scrutinized under a microscope to identify abnormal cells, providing valuable insights into potential lung cancer presence.

Genetic Testing

Mutation Analysis: Genetic testing zeroes in on specific gene mutations linked to lung cancer, allowing doctors to tailor treatments to individual genetic profiles.

Targeted Treatments: Armed with genetic insights, medical professionals can devise treatments that precisely address the underlying genetic causes of lung cancer.

Lung cancer risk factors


  • Risk Increase: Smoking introduces harmful chemicals to your lung cells, fostering a fertile ground for cancerous growth.
  • Cessation Matters: Quitting smoking drastically cuts the risk, showcasing the potential for positive change.

Secondhand Smoke

  • Passive Impact: Inhaling smoke exhaled by others escalates the risk, even for non-smokers.
  • Protective Steps: Minimize exposure and safeguard your lungs.

Occupational Carcinogens

  • Risk Professions: Construction, mining, transportation—exposure to substances like asbestos ups the ante.
  • Safe Workspaces: Protective measures guard against harmful substances.

Genetics and Family History

  • Family Links: Close kin with lung cancer heighten the possibility of it occurring in your life.
  • Awareness is Key: Knowledge empowers proactive health measures.

Lung cancer treatment by stage

Lung cancer treatment varies depending on the stage of the disease. Lung cancer stages range from I to IV, with each stage indicating the progression and spread of cancer cells.

Surgery is often considered the primary treatment option in early-stage lung cancer (stage I). This involves removing the tumour and surrounding tissue. In certain cases, radiation therapy is recommended to target any remaining cancer cells.

A combination approach is typically used for locally advanced lung cancer (stage II or III). This may involve a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. Chemotherapy helps to kill cancer cells throughout the body, while radiation therapy targets specific areas affected by the disease.

In advanced lung cancer (stage IV), treatment focuses on managing symptoms and prolonging life. Options may include targeted therapies that specifically attack certain genetic mutations in cancer cells, an immunotherapy that boosts the immune system’s ability to fight cancer, chemotherapy to shrink tumours and reduce symptoms, and palliative care to improve quality of life.

Consult Dr Taj Chowdhry for lung cancer diagnosis & treatment

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms or has concerns about lung cancer, it is crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Timely diagnosis and treatment can improve outcomes and increase the chances of a successful recovery.

Dr Taj Chowdhry, an experienced lung cancer diagnosis and treatment specialist, is here to help. With his expertise in this field, he can provide accurate diagnoses using state-of-the-art technology and develop a treatment plan that is tailored to each patient’s needs.

Schedule an appointment with Dr Taj today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *