Lung Cancer is cancer that forms in tissues of the lung, usually in the cells lining air passages. As they grow, the abnormal cells can form tumors and interfere with the functioning of the lung.

There are two main types of lung cancer; small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. These two types of cancers grow, spread, and are treated in different ways.

  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer accounting for about 80% of all cases. It doesn’t grow and spread as fast as small cell lung cancer, and is treated differently.
  • Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) makes up about 20% of all lung cancer cases. This type is the most aggressive and rapidly growing of all the types. SCLC metastasizes rapidly to many sites within the body and is most often discovered after metastasis.

Of the 4,807 new cancer cases reported in 2020, 226 are of lung cancer in the UAE, according to the Globocan statistics. Mortality due to lung cancer is ranked as second place of cancer deaths in the United Arab Emirates. Furthermore, Men are more likely to get lung cancer than women in the UAE.

The main symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • A cough that doesn’t go away after 2 or 3 weeks
  • A long-standing cough that gets worse
  • Chest infections that keep coming back
  • Coughing up blood
  • An ache or pain when breathing or coughing
  • Persistent breathlessness
  • Persistent tiredness or lack of energy
  • Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss

If you have any of these, you should see a doctor.

Less common symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • Changes in the appearance of your fingers, such as becoming more
    curved or their ends becoming larger (this is known as finger clubbing)
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) or pain when swallowing
  • Wheezing
  • A hoarse voice
  • Swelling of your face or neck
  • Persistent chest or shoulder pain

Common risk factors for Lung Cancer:

  • Smoking / Tobacco
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Occupational Exposure (Miners, Heavy metal workers)
  • Dietary factors
  • Radon gas
  • Aging
  • Pollution
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Other illnesses (such as COPD, tuberculosis, etc.)
  • Family history of lung cancer

Experience any of these symptoms, please talk to your doctor to rule out lung cancer.

There are several factors that can increase your chances of developing Lung Cancer

How does smoking cause lung cancer?

Doctors believe smoking causes lung cancer by damaging the cells that line the lungs. When you inhale cigarette smoke, which is full of cancer-causing substances (carcinogens), changes in the lung tissue begin almost immediately. Over time, the damage causes cells to act abnormally and eventually cancer may develop.

Life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than that of non-smokers. Quitting smoking before the age of 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking-related disease by about 90%.

Quitting smoking decreases the risk of lung cancer decreases up to 30% to 50%. Furthermore, it’s never too late to quit smoking, your body begins to recover the minute you stop smoking your last cigarette.