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Lung Cancer

Lungs: How do they function?

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The most important function of the lungs is to take and transfer oxygen from the environment to the bloodstream.

The lungs affect every part of our bodies and health, taking over 6 million breaths every year.

This article examines the form and function of the lungs, diseases affecting the lungs and how to maintain healthy lungs.

important facts about the lungs

  • The left and right lungs are different sizes.
  • The lungs play a part in many functions, including regulating the acidity of the body.
  • Smoking tobacco is the biggest cause of lung-related complaints.
  • Preventive and lifestyle measures can help keep the lungs healthy.

Structure

The human lungs diagram
The lungs not only enable us to breathe and talk, but they also support the cardiovascular system and help maintain pH in the body, among others

The lungs are in the chest, on either side of the heart, behind the rib cage. With a rounded point at their apex and a flatter base where they meet the diaphragm, they are roughly conical in shape.

The lungs are not equal in size and shape although they are a pair.

The left lung has a bordering indentation where the heart resides, which is called the cardiac notch. The right lung is shorter to allow space for the liver below.

Overall the left lung has a weight and capacity slightly lower than the right.

Two membranes, known as the Pulmonary Pleurae, surround the lungs. The inner layer lines the outer surface of the lungs directly, and the outer layer is attached to the rib cage’s inner wall.

Pleural fluid fills the space between the two membranes.

Function

A spirometry test can show how well the lungs are working.
A spirometry test can show how well the lungs are working.

The main role of the lungs is to bring air out of the atmosphere and to pass oxygen into the bloodstream. It circulates from there on to the rest of the body.

Help is needed for proper respiration from structures outside the lungs. In order to breathe, we use the diaphragm muscle, the intercostal muscles (between the ribs), the abdomen muscles, and sometimes even the neck muscles.

The diaphragm is a muscle that lies beneath the lungs and is domed at the top. It poweres most of the breathing work involved.

As it contracts, it moves down , allowing more space in the chest cavity and boosting the capacity of the lungs to expand. When the volume of the chest cavity increases, the inside pressure decreases, and air is sucked in through the nose or mouth and down into the lungs.

As the diaphragm relaxes and returns to its position of rest, the volume of the lung decreases as the pressure within the cavity of the chest increases and the lungs expel the air.

The lungs are akin to bellows. Air is sucked in as they expand for oxygen. During exhalation the exchanged carbon dioxide waste is pushed back out as they compress.

It travels down the trachea when air enters the nose or mouth, also called the windpipe. After this, it reaches a section called the carina. The windpipe splits into two at the carina, creating two bronchi of the master stem. One of them leads to the left lung, the other to the right lung.

From there, the pipe-like bronchi split into smaller bronchi, and then even smaller bronchioles, like branches on a tree. This ever decreasing pipework finally ends in the alveoli, which are small endings of the air sac.

Here exchange of gas takes place.

The alveoli

The alveoli are the end point from which the oxygen passes from the outside world to the depths of the lungs.

Alveoli are minute sacs that are microscopic in size, each wrapped in a fine mesh of capillaries.

 Every human has around 700 million alveol individual. The total membrane surface area given by the alveoli is 70 meters squared. This is often spoken of as being around half a tennis court.

Between the lungs the body receives oxygen to the other tissues from the bloodstream as it passes through the circulatory system.

The blood that has given up its oxygen from the tissues in exchange for carbon dioxide then passes through the heart and travels to the lungs to reach the capillaries that surround the alveoli.

The alveoli now contain a new supply of oxygen in which the person has breathed. The oxygen passes into the bloodstream via a membrane called the alveolar-capillary membrane.

Simultaneously, the carbon dioxide accumulated in the bloodstream during its travels across the body reaches the alveoli. Upon exhalation, it is breathed back out into the atmosphere from there.

Put simply, carbon dioxide comes out as the oxygen goes in. This is an exchange of gas. 

Surfactant in the lungs

Special cells in the alveoli produce a compound known as pulmonary surfactant. It contains lipids, protein , and carbohydrates.

Surfactant has regions hydrophilic as well as hydrophobic. Water tends to attract hydrophilic regions, and the water repulses hydrophobic regions.

The surfactant pulmonary serves a number of vital functions.

These include:

  • allowing for better breathing efficiency
  • preventing the alveoli from collapsing on themselves

Each alveolus is like a wet-inside plastic bag. If no surfactant exists, the bag would collapse in on itself and the internal sides would stick together. Surfactant preven these alveoli from happening.

Pulmonary surfactant fulfills its role by reducing the surface tension. By doing so, it reduces the effort needed to inflate the alveoli.

Surfactant production does not start until the later weeks of gestation, before birth.

That’s why preterm born babies have respiratory problems, referred to as infant respiratory distress syndrome (RDS).

Other functions of the lungs

Respiration is the best-known role of the lungs, but they carry out other important functions.

pH balance: Too much carbon dioxide can cause the body to become acidic. If the lungs detect a rise in acidity, they increase the rate of ventilation to expel more of the unwanted gas.

Filtering: The lungs filter small blood clots, and they can remove small air bubbles, known as air embolisms, if they occur.

Protective: The lungs can act as a shock absorber for the heart in certain types of collision.

Protection from infection: Certain membranes within the lungs secrete immunoglobulin A. This protects the lungs from some infections.

Mucociliary clearance: The mucus that lines the respiratory passages traps dust particles and bacteria. Tiny hair-like projections, known as cilia, move these particles upward to a position where they can be coughed out or swallowed and destroyed by the digestive system.

Blood reservoir: The lungs can vary how much blood they contain at any moment. This function can be useful, for example, during exercise. The amount of blood the lungs can contain can vary from 500 to 1,000 milliliters (ml). The lungs interact with the heart and can help the heart function more efficiently.

Speech: Without airflow, humanity would be without its favorite pastime.

Respiratory disease

Respiratory diseases can affect any part of the respiratory tract, from the upper respiratory tract to the bronchi and down into the alveoli.

Respiratory system disorders are common. There are millions of common cold cases in the USA every year.

Inflammatory lung diseases

Asthma affects the lungs and breathing.
Asthma affects the lungs and breathing.

This group includes:

  • asthma
  • cystic fibrosis
  • acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and chronic bronchitis

COPD generally results from the damage to the lungs caused by tobacco smoking.

Asthma includes obstructive narrowing and swelling of the airways, and excess mucus development. This causes breath- and wheezing shortness.

Triggers include:

  • tobacco and wood smoke
  • dust mites
  • air pollution
  • cockroach allergens
  • mold
  • stress
  • infections
  • some foods

No one understands exactly why asthma affects some and not others.

Restrictive lung diseases

This means that the airway is restricted.

It can happen as a result of:

  • the lungs becoming stiff
  • a problem with the chest wall or breathing muscles, for example, as with idiopathic cystic fibrosis
  • a curvature of the spine
  • obesity

The amount of air a person can intake is reduced and it becomes harder to breathe in.

Respiratory tract infections

Infections can happen in the respiratory tract at any point. Those could be defined as:

Upper respiratory tract infection: Common cold (viral) is the most commonly contracted. These include laryngitis, pharyngitis, tonsillitis and others.

Lower respiratory tract infection: Bacterial infection is the most common type, and bacterial pneumonia is the most common. Other causes of lower respiratory tract infection include viruses and fungi.

These types of infections can lead to complications including lung abscesses and the spread of infection to pleural cavity.

Tumors

Tumors of the respiratory system can be malignant or benign.

Malignant tumors: 14 percent of all new cancer diagnoses are primary lung cancer. Lung cancer is the second most common cancer type, and the leading cause of cancer fatality in both men and women.

Cigarette smoking is the cause of most lung cancers. The blood in the body flows into the lungs from the heart, so that the cancer can spread easily to other parts of the body.

Benign tumors: Benign tumors are a less common cause of breathing disorder. Hamartoma is one example. These can compress tissue around them, but are typically asymptomatic.

Pleural cavity diseases

The pleural cavity is the gap between the pleural membranes inside and outside, which encase the outside of the lungs.

Pleural effusion: In the pleural cavity, fluid builds up, often due to cancer in or around the chest cavity. It could also be related to congestive heart failure or liver cirrhosis. Other causes include pleura inflammation which may occur with an infection.

Pneumothorax: For example, this can result from a trauma, a wound to the bullet. Air inside the pleural cavity is known as pneumothorax. This compresses the lungs, and causes them to collapse like a balloon when severe.

Pulmonary vascular disease

Vascular pulmonary diseases affect the vessels which carry blood through the lungs.

Examples include:

Pulmonary artery embolism: A blood clot forms elsewhere in the body and travels in the bloodstream to the heart and then to the lungs, where it becomes lodged. This can lead to sudden death. More rarely an embolism may be fat, amniotic fluid, or air.

Pulmonary arterial hypertension: Increased pressure may build in the arteries of the lungs. The explanations for this are still unclear.

Pulmonary edema: The most frequent result from congestive heart failure. Fluid leaks from capillaries into the alveolar air spaces.

Pulmonary hemorrhage: capillaries damaged and inflamed can leak blood into the alveoli. Coughing up the blood can be a symptom.

Tips for good lung health

Ways of keeping the lungs healthy include:

Quitting smoking
Not smoking is the key to avoiding many lung-related problems.

Stopping smoking: first and second hand cigarette smoking can lead to lung cancer and COPD, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Smoking causes the airways to narrow, inflames the lungs, and over time destroys the tissues. Make your home an area that’s smoke free.

Prevent infection: ways to prevent the spread of respiratory infections include washing hands, avoiding crowds during the flu season, and asking your health care provider for vaccinations for influenza and pneumonia.

Exercise: Aerobic exercise improves lung capacity and the ability to stay fit can prevent other diseases that could affect the lungs.

Check-ups: regular health checks can detect problems in the early stages, even if they feel well, when treatment is easier.

Avoiding exposure to pollutants: Chemicals used in garden or home can harm the lungs. When using heavy chemicals wear a mask. Radon is a naturally occurring compound that has been related to 21,000 deaths in the USA annually from lung cancer. S. For those people around 2,900 have never smoked.

Moisture control: Use exhaust fans and vents to keep indoor humidity down to an acceptable level. Whenever necessary keep wet surfaces clean and dry. It is a safe idea to keep the house ventilated with natural fresh air.

Breast Cancer

Are humans putting too much emphasis on genetic linkages in cancer research?

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genes to cancer
  • Cancer research is significantly more prevalent than study on any other scientific problem.
  • In part, maybe as a result of the relative simplicity with which scientists are able to perform genetic cancer research, practically every human gene has been shown to have a link with the illness in some manner.
  • Several of these relationships are called into doubt by a new publication, which implies that researchers should consider exploring alternative routes of exploration.

There’s a solid reason why cancer is the most frequently investigated biological or biomedical problem, and it’s not just because it’s popular. Cancer will afflict one out of every two people in the United Kingdom at some point in their life, according to the National Cancer Institute.

In contrast, according to a new review of the PubMed collection of biomedical research literature, the quest for links between genes and cancer has resulted in an oversupply of documented relationships, making fresh research even more challenging.

At this moment, nearly every human gene has been found to have some association with cancer, whether directly or indirectly.

According to the report, which appears in the journal Trends in Genetics, the PubMed library has at least one publication on each of the 17,371 human genes that have been identified. In at least one of these publications, cancer is mentioned by 87.7 percent of the authors.

Only three genes, out of the 4,186 genes that have been the topic of 100 or more PubMed papers, have been shown to have no connection with cancer.

The author of the new paper, Dr. João Pedro de Magalhães of the University of Liverpool in the U.K., writes, “An incredible 24.4% of all publications associated with genes in PubMed mention cancer.”

Dr. de Magalhes believes that the abundance of links may be due to the relative ease with which cancer research may be conducted from a genetic perspective:

“When compared to other prevalent diseases, such as heart disease or neurological disorders, cancer appears to be more straightforward to investigate, owing to the widespread availability of resources, such as cell lines.”

In other words, as compared to many other disease situations, the experimental approaches required to research cancer appear to have fewer technical restrictions.”

Why the number of links is a problem

According to Dr. de Magalhes, the large number of links reported in studies implies that virtually all genes are implicated in cancer, which is highly implausible.

Due to the fact that associations do not often imply true causal linkages, much of this research may be useless statistical noise that makes productive analysis more challenging.

The study highlights numerous ways in which the abundance of reported connections stifles useful research:

  • According to the report, it jeopardizes the integrity of grant awards since “the study of practically any human gene may be justified (e.g., in grant applications) based on current literature by its potential connection to cancer.”
  • Because there are so many gene-cancer connections reported in the literature, genome-wide research and high-throughput analysis are more likely to catch an undesirable range of gene-cancer interactions. According to the findings of the article, there is a greater than 99 percent likelihood that three or more genes would make their way into a result.
  • When there are biases in cancer research publications, they can undermine the integrity of network analysis, such as protein-protein interactions, which are influenced by the amount of studies that have been conducted on each individual protein.

According to Dr. de Magalhes, researchers should be aware of the bias toward finding gene correlations for cancer in their talks with other researchers and when evaluating their work:

“In genetics and genomics, literally everything is associated with cancer. If a gene has not been associated with cancer yet, it probably means it has not been studied enough and will most likely be associated with cancer in the future.”

Says Dr. de Magalhães, “In a scientific world where everything and every gene can be associated with cancer, the challenge is determining which are the key drivers of cancer and more promising therapeutic targets.”

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Cardiovascular / Cardiology

What are the effects of smoking on the human body?

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Cigarettes cause a variety of negative health impacts. Some of these can have life-threatening consequences.

Smoking cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), increases the chance of dying from any cause, not just those associated to tobacco use.

Cigarette smoking harms the respiratory system, circulatory system, reproductive system, skin, and eyes, as well as increasing the risk of a variety of malignancies.

We’ll look at so possible side effects of smoking cigarettes in this article.

The effect of smoke to the body

Coronary artery disease

Cigarette smoking is harmful to the heart, blood arteries, and blood cells.

Cigarette smoke contains chemicals and tar that can raise a person’s risk of atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup in the blood arteries. This buildup restricts blood flow and can result in life-threatening clots.

Smoking also raises the risk of peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a condition in which the arteries in the arms and legs constrict and impede blood flow.

According to research, there is a direct link between smoking and the development of PAD. Even former smokers are at a higher risk than individuals who have never smoked.

If you have PAD, you’re more likely to develop:

Fertility issues

Cigarette smoking can cause damage to a woman’s reproductive system, making it more difficult for her to become pregnant. It’s possible that this is due to the fact that tobacco and the other chemicals in cigarettes have an effect on hormone levels.

Men who smoke more cigarettes and for a longer period of time are more likely to develop erectile dysfunction than women who consume less cigarettes. Smoking can also have a negative impact on the quality of sperm, resulting in decreased fertility.

Pregnancy problems

Cigarette smoking can raise the chance of ectopic pregnancy and diminish the weight of the baby at birth.
Cigarette smoking can raise the chance of ectopic pregnancy and diminish the weight of the baby at birth.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking can have a negative impact on pregnancy and the developing foetus in a variety of ways, including:

  • increasing the risk of ectopic pregnancy
  • reducing the baby’s birth weight
  • increasing the risk of preterm delivery
  • damaging the fetus’s lungs, brain, and central nervous system
  • increasing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome
  • contributing to congenital abnormalities, such as cleft lip or cleft palate

Damage to the lungs

Cigarette smoking has a negative impact on lung health because it exposes a person to not only nicotine but also a range of other substances through their breathing.

A significant increase in the risk of getting lung cancer is attributed to the use of tobacco products. Men are at 25 times greater risk than women, and women are at 25.7 times more risk than men.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking is responsible for around 9 out of every 10 lung cancer.

Cigarette smoking also increases the likelihood of getting and dying from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (COPD). In fact, according to the American Lung Association, smoking is responsible for 80 percent of COPD deaths.

Cigarettes have also been connected to the development of emphysema and chronic bronchitis in several studies. They can also cause or intensify an asthma episode in certain people.

Type 2 diabetes risk

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those who smoke regularly have a 30–40 percent greater chance of acquiring type 2 diabetes than those who do not.

Additionally, smoking might make managing one’s diabetes more difficult for those who suffer from the disease.

Damaged immune system

Cigarette smoking has been shown to damage a person’s immune system, making them more susceptible to illnesses.

Additionally, it has the potential to produce extra inflammation in the body.

Vision problems

Cigarette smoking can cause eye problems, such as an increased risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, among other things.

There are several other eyesight impairments associated with smoking, including:

Poor oral hygiene

People who smoke have a twofold increased chance of developing gum disease. The danger increases in direct proportion to the amount of cigarettes that a person smokes.

Symptoms of gum disease include:

  • swollen and tender gums
  • bleeding when brushing
  • loose teeth
  • sensitive teeth

A person’s ability to taste and smell things properly can be impaired when they smoke tobacco. It can also discolour the teeth, turning them yellow or brown.

Unhealthy skin and hair

The skin and hair of a person who smokes tobacco can be negatively affected. It is possible for someone who smokes to have skin that is prematurely aged and wrinkled. They also have a higher risk of skin cancer, “particularly on the lips,” than the general population.

When you smoke, your hair and skin may begin to smell like tobacco. It can also have a negative impact on hair loss and balding.

Risk of other cancers

In addition to the well-documented association between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer, smoking cigarettes can also increase the risk of developing other types of cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, cigarette smoking is a contributing factor in 20–30 percent of pancreatic cancer cases.

Individuals who smoke have a three-fold increased risk of developing bladder cancer compared to those who do not smoke.

Cigarette smoking increases a person’s risk of developing stomach cancer by a factor of two. Tobacco use is particularly associated with stomach cancers that develop near the oesophagus.

Cigarettes can also raise the likelihood of developing:

  • mouth cancer
  • laryngeal cancer
  • throat cancer
  • esophageal cancer
  • kidney cancer
  • cervical cancer
  • liver cancer
  • colon cancer
  • acute myeloid leukemia

Secondhand smoke

Secondhand smoke
It has been shown that secondhand smoke can raise the risk of colds, make asthma symptoms worse, and harm the heart and blood vessels.

The negative consequences of smoking cigarettes do not only affect those who smoke cigarettes. Secondhand smoking can have serious health consequences for family members, friends, and employees who are exposed to it.

The following are some of the consequences of secondhand smoking exposure:

  • increasing the risk of colds and ear infections
  • making asthma worse
  • raising blood pressure
  • damaging the heart
  • reducing levels of high-density lipoprotein, or “good,” cholesterol

Stopping smoking

While quitting smoking can be difficult, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are currently more people who used to smoke than there are people who currently smoke.

The benefits of quitting smoking begin to accrue as soon as a person quits. Clearer skin, better oral health, more stable hormones, a stronger immune system, and a lower risk of developing several types of cancer are just a few of the benefits.

Other advantages of stopping smoking include the following:

  • After 20 minutes–12 hours: Heart rate and carbon monoxide in the blood drop to normal levels.
  • After 1 year: The risk of a heart attack is much lower, as is blood pressure. Coughing and upper respiratory problems begin to improve.
  • After 2–5 years: The risk of stroke drops to that of someone who does not smoke, according to the CDC.
  • After 5–15 years: The risk of mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder cancer is reduced by half.
  • After 10 years: The risk of lung cancer and bladder cancer is half that of someone who currently smokes.
  • After 15 years: The risk of heart disease is similar to that of someone who never smoked.

Nicotine is an addictive chemical that can produce withdrawal symptoms if a person stops taking it for an extended period of time. Cravings, increased hunger, and irritability are just a few of the signs and symptoms. Cravings and other adverse effects are often alleviated with time.

The assistance of a doctor or other healthcare expert can assist a smoker in taking positive steps towards quitting.

Here are some straightforward methods to help you quit smoking.

Sources

  • https://www.cancer.org/cancer/basal-and-squamous-cell-skin-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html
  • https://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/i-want-to-quit/benefits-of-quitting.html
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324644
  • https://smokefree.gov/quit-smoking/why-you-should-quit/benefits-of-quitting
  • https://www.cancer.org/cancer/bladder-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK310413/
  • https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/sites/journalofethics.ama-assn.org/files/2018-05/cprl1-1101.pdf
  • https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/index.htm
  • https://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/smoking-facts/health-effects-of-smoking.html
  • https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/tobacco-and-cancer/health-risks-of-smoking-tobacco.html
  • https://heart.bmj.com/content/100/5/414
  • https://www.cancer.org/cancer/pancreatic-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html
  • https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/cessation/quitting/index.htm
  • https://medlineplus.gov/smoking.html
  • https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/know-your-risks/smoking-and-your-heart
  • https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/smoking-and-your-heart
  • https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/diseases/periodontal-gum-disease.html
  • https://www.cancer.org/cancer/stomach-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html
  • http://www.quitnow.gov.au/internet/quitnow/publishing.nsf/content/warnings-emphysema
  • https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervical-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html

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Cancer / Oncology

What to know about pneumonia and lung cancer

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Lung cancer and pneumonia also arise in the lungs and have many similar symptoms. Lung cancer, too, can increase pneumonia risk by weakening the immune system.

Pneumonia is a lung infection that leads to trouble breathing and lung fluid. The pneumonia may be caused by various viruses, bacteria , and fungi.

Lung cancer arises as a result of overgrowth of lung cells, which may form tumors. Lung cancer is the second most common form of cancer in the United States, and the leading cause of death from cancer, according to the American Cancer Society ( ACS).

In this article we look at the link between pneumonia and lung cancer and their effects on the body.

What is the link?

Old man coughing
Coughing is a symptom of both pneumonia and lung cancer.

Lung cancer rarely causes symptoms until its later stages. Yet pneumonia may develop as a lung cancer complication.

Individuals with a weakened immune system are especially vulnerable to developing pneumonia. For this reason, 50–70% of people with lung cancer develop serious infections of the lung during their illness, such as pneumonia.

In fact, the aggressive treatments used by physicians to treat lung cancer also significantly impair immune function. That means people may be less able to prevent the entry of infectious agents into their bodies. They may also have more difficulty fighting infections and may not respond well to medicines.

Infections pose a significant health risk for these individuals. Infection is actually the second most common cause of death in people with lung cancer outside of the tumors.

A weaker immune system also accounts for the significant impact that pneumonia has on very young people and older adults.

More information on lung cancer can be found here.

Differences in symptoms

Lung cancer is not always symptom inducing. When it does, however, they usually occur when the cancer has entered an advanced stage.

Many signs of the lung cancer and pneumonia overlap. Usually pneumonia symptoms are more severe immediately. By general, lung cancer progresses more gradually and does not cause symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage.

Overlapping symptoms include:

  • Coughing: This tends to be more persistent in people with lung cancer. It will usually last for several weeks and get progressively worse.
  • Phlegm: This is generally dark red, brown, yellow, or green.
  • Shortness of breath: This is more persistent in people with lung cancer than those with pneumonia. However, people with pneumonia experience more acute breathlessness that may progress more quickly without treatment.
  • Stabbing chest pains: These get worse during a breath or a cough.
  • Tiredness: People with lung cancer commonly feel more fatigue than those with pneumonia.
  • Loss of appetite: People with lung cancer tend to experience loss of appetite, which may result in weight loss.
  • Wheezing: This is rare in both lung cancer and pneumonia.

Other symptoms include:

  • fever
  • rapid heartbeat
  • hot and cold flushes
  • headaches
  • nausea or vomiting
  • joint or muscle aches
  • confusion
  • coughing up blood
  • higher
  • persistent chest infections

A doctor does not necessarily use specific signs to differentiate between pneumonia and lung cancer. They should be more focused on how rapidly symptoms progress and the timing of their onset.

Lung cancer symptoms

Shoulder pain in ladies
A person with lung cancer may experience shoulder pain.

Common symptoms that occur only in people with lung cancer include:

Less common symptoms include:

  • swelling in the face or neck
  • long lasting shoulder or neck pain
  • difficulty swallowing
  • hoarseness
  • changes in the shape of the fingertips

Find out more about lung cancer here.

Risk factors

Any individual can develop pneumonia as well as lung cancer. Nonetheless, other factors make certain health problems more likely to occur.

Another risk factor for pneumonia is lung cancer itself. Receiving chemotherapy for lung cancer treatment can also increase a person’s risk of pneumonia by reducing immune function.

Smoking tobacco is an significant risk factor for developing lung cancer , especially over an extended period of time. It also contributes to the risk of developing pneumonia.

Other risk factors for lung cancer include:

  • exposure to carcinogenic chemicals, such as radon, asbestos, and uranium
  • a family history of lung cancer
  • previous radiation therapy to the chest
  • air pollution, which some researchers suggest is responsible for 5% of global lung cancer deaths

The following factors can increase the risk of pneumonia:

  • chronic lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or cystic fibrosis (CF)
  • chronic illnesses in other parts of the body, such as diabetes and heart disease
  • a repressed immune system, which may occur due to chemotherapy treatment for cancer, HIV, organ transplants, or using steroid medications over a long period
  • recent respiratory infection with a virus, such as flu
  • staying in a hospital, especially when using a ventilator
  • drug and alcohol abuse, which can increase the risk of a specific type known as aspiration pneumonia

Want to quit smoking? Learn more here.

Diagnosis and treatment

A female doctor in office with patient
To diagnose pneumonia, a doctor may carry out a physical examination.

A doctor can perform a physical exam when diagnosing pneumonia to check for swollen glands, excessive respiration or high temperature.

The diagnosis is also confirmed by a doctor using an X-ray to demonstrate fluid build-up in the lungs.

Treatment can vary depending on a person ‘s form of pneumonia, and overall health. Some people at home can treat pneumonia with plenty of fluids, medication and rest.

Patients with more serious pneumonia can need to stay at hospital to receive fluids and antibiotics intravenous (IV). They can need oxygen therapy or breathing aid, too.

A doctor has greater difficulty in diagnosing lung cancer. An X-ray in the chest may provide some information, but to confirm the diagnosis, a biopsy is often required.

If a doctor confirms a lung cancer diagnosis, they will ask for more testing, including a PET scan. It will help them determine the extent to which the cancer has spread.

Often, they’ll order a biopsy. A specialist takes a small sample of the tissue and sends it under a microscope for analysis.

A doctor usually extends a tiny tube through the nose or mouth into the lungs to extract the sample. Typically, they’ll use a CT scan to guide the biopsy.

The outcomes of these tests will determine the type of lung cancer, where the primary tumor is located, and the stage of the disease.

The doctor will use this knowledge to assess the most appropriate treatment plan, as well as the individual’s general health.

Treatments are intended to treat, monitor or relieve symptoms. Based on the extent of the lung cancer, the treatments available will vary from simple surgical procedures to chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Outlook

The majority of pneumonia cases are not extreme, although the illness is dangerous.

The duration of symptoms depends on the person ‘s overall health and the type of pneumonia they have.

It can take several weeks for pneumonia to heal. Vital organs, such as the heart and brain, may not get enough oxygen without treatment. This can result in confusion, coma, heart failure or death.

Whatever the treatment, the outlook for lung cancer tends to be worse than pneumonia. If pneumonia is left untreated, however, this can lead to death.

Early diagnosis of lung cancer raises the risk of the tumors being surgically removed before they spread. That gives an person a good chance of recovery.

According to the American Lung Association, however, only 16 percent of people with lung cancer are treated before it spreads.

If the cancer spreads or metastasizes to remote organs in the body, it is less than 5 percent likely to live for 5 years. According to the American Lung Association, over half of all people with this type of cancer don’t survive for more than a year.

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