The most common cancer in people worldwide is lung cancer, contributing to a staggering number of deaths. The reason why this disease is so deadly is that it is hard to discover it in the early stages. Generally speaking, there are no symptoms of lung cancer. The illness can be present for months and even years before any physical manifestations emerge. There are very few specialized pain receptors in the lungs, which explains the apparent absence of symptoms. When they are diagnosed with the fatal disease, people are completely shocked. They cannot believe that they have had the illness for such a long time.
Who is at a high risk for lung cancer? That is a very good question. Surprisingly, young women are more likely to get the disease. The incidence rates are now higher for women, in particular, young women, than they are for men. Research into the epidemiology of lung cancer has found that the illness mainly affects women of young age. In spite of the fact that it used to be more common in men, the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both lungs occurs predominantly in women. We are basically dealing with a reversal of patterns. There is good news, though. Lifesaving advances are expected in 2019.
Setting the stage for lung cancer: Smoking
Smoking causes cancer, but that is not a secret. We are told every single day that smoking is bad for the health and it can lead to cancer. The chemicals in the cigarette enter the blood stream and affect the entire body. Cigarette smoking is a contributing factor in lung cancer deaths. To put it simply, there is no safe way of using tobacco. Although they are fully aware of the risks, individuals continue to smoke. Great efforts have been made to convince people to stop smoking, but it seems that all has been in vain.
The high incidence of lung cancer cases in young women is explained by smoking. A significant percentage of young women smoke cigarettes. They smoke for the reinforcing effects of nicotine, not to mention emotional regulation. As far as the stress response is concerned, young women experience a stronger craving. The smoking behaviors of women are closer to that of their male counterparts. Unquestionably, women of grace, manners, and distinction do not smoke more than men. This may be so, yet this habit affects them more.
Even if they kick the habit, women can still get cancer and have to look into the different cancer treatment options that are available. It is not necessary to take a close look at studies to understand that ceasing to smoke does not guarantee that the risk of developing lung cancer is gone. It is still there. An ever-increasing number of non-smokers develop the illness. They smoked cigarettes every day for years and the harmful chemicals have had enough time to do their damage.
Smoking is not the only risk factor for lung cancer
Despite the fact that smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer, it is not the only risk factor. To be more precise, the high number of lung cancer cases cannot be fully explained by smoking. Not all women who smoke get the fatal disease. What is more, some of them have never even tried the practice of smoking tobacco. It is possible that young women are more biologically vulnerable. Their genes increase their risk for developing the illness. It should not come as a surprise that genes play an important role in lung cancer. There are many individuals who inherit DNA changes in the chromosome and become sick, whether or not they smoke.
It is only normal to want to know what the other contributing factors are. In addition to inherited gene changes, mention can be made of exposure to toxic substances. There are many cancer-causing substances present in the environment, including but not limited to asbestos, nickel, radon, arsenic, chromium, and vinyl chloride. More often than not, it is not clear why young women develop lung cancer. Anyone can get the disease. Individuals go to see their healthcare providers and discover that they are ill. Researchers themselves have not been able to grasp the causes of lung cancer. In other words, it is still a mystery to them. It is a good thing that the experts have come up with lifesaving treatments.
Understanding the main types of cancer treatment
Healthcare professionals provide patients with various options when it comes down to cancer treatment. The type of therapy depends largely upon the type of lung cancer (adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, large cell carcinoma, or non-small cell lung cancer). These are the main types of cancer treatment:
- Radiation therapy: Radiotherapy uses high doses of waves, such as x-rays, to kill the cancer cells and shrink the tumor. Modern technologies have considerably improved in terms of the ability of the therapy to target the tumor. Techniques that are at use today are proton therapy and brachytherapy.
- Chemotherapy: Medication or combinations of medications are effective for treating lung cancer, especially if the tumors cannot be removed. Chemotherapy represents the main type of therapy in stage IV patients. Novelty in drug innovation is impressive. The new medication has been developed to stop malignant tumors from spreading.
- Surgery: Cancer cannot be cured with surgery. However, surgery is an important part of the treatment plan. Patients may have surgery to have one of their lobes removed or the entire lung. Healthcare professionals conduct literally hundreds of surgical operations, so they can remove tumors without causing damage.
The survival rate for lung cancer in young women are higher than that for men, which is encouraging. The rates are based on the outcomes of people who have had the illness. The new lifesaving treatments offer hope. Things are not as they were tens of years ago when people did not get to live long after they received the fatal diagnosis. Individuals respond better to treatment and, as long as the disease is caught on time, there is hope.