Among terminal diseases humanity has not yet learned to treat, cancer is probably one of the most feared illnesses. Unlike AIDS or other diseases widely spread in countries with low standards of living, cancer’s geography is much wider, including both rich and poor countries equally. Among the variety of different types of cancer, one of the most common is lung cancer; the environment in which people live in the 21st century greatly contributes to the development of this type of cancer.
The first and the most popular cause of lung cancer is smoking cigarettes. By numerous estimates, smoking cigarettes causes approximately 86% of lung cancer cases, including cases caused by passive exposure to smoke exhaled by other smokers. These chances increase if a person started smoking tobacco at a young age. Passive smoking poses a lesser threat, but is still dangerous—it is known that passive smokers (who are usually exposed to smoke at work or at home) have a 25% higher risk of lung cancer compared to people who are not exposed to the smoke of cigarettes. Regular heavy exposure to environmental tobacco smoke can increase the risk of lung cancer by 50% (CancerResearch UK).
Genetics and lung diseases in one’s genetics can also become significant risk factors of lung cancer. For example, if a person’s mother, father, sibling, aunt, uncle, or grandparent has had lung cancer, the chances of this person developing lung cancer slightly increases. At the same time, it has not been yet researched whether genes indeed increase cancer chances, or they increase individuals’ susceptibility to this disease. As for lung diseases, some of them are known to affect the chances of cancer development. In particular, among such diseases are tuberculosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Other illnesses like chronic bronchitis and emphysema can cause scarring in the lungs, which means the increase of the amount of tissue in them—and as it is known, cancer is an uncontrolled division of cells, and the respective multiplication of tissues (Healthline).
As for other environmental factors, one of the most significant among them is the exposure to asbestos fibers and similar materials. Usually, a person is exposed to these silicate materials at the workplace: technical works, such as thermal and acoustic insulation, involve the usage of asbestos. Nowadays, asbestos is limited or even prohibited from usage, since it has been proven that asbestos materials can cause both lung cancer and mesothelioma (cancer of the lungs’ pleura, as well as cancer of peritoneum—a lining of the abdominal cavity). Even non-smoking asbestos workers have a five times higher risk of developing lung cancer; as for the smoking asbestos workers, their chances to get cancer are up to ninety-fold greater than nonsmokers (MedicineNet.com).
As it can be seen, lung cancer does not develop on its own, but is triggered by a number of factors. The first and foremost of them is smoking tobacco, both active and passive. Exposure to asbestos materials also increases a person’s chances to get lung cancer. Also, genetics and past lung illnesses can lead to the development of this type of cancer. The cure for lung cancer is not finalized, and remains an epidemic.
“Lung Cancer Symptoms, Causes, Treatment.” MedicineNet. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2015.
“Lung Cancer Risks and Causes.” CancerResearch UK. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2015.
“Lung Cancer Causes.” Healthline. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2015.
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Writing a Cause and Effect Essay
Lung Cancer Cancer is a disease marked by uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. The abnormal cells may no longer do the work of normal cells and in turn crowd out and destroy the healthy tissue. Most of the victims of cancer die from lung cancer. Many of these cases could have been avoided because it most often occurs in people over the age of 50 with a history of smoking. There are different types of lung cancer involving different parts of the lungs. They have different symptoms and are all treated differently. If the cancer is located in one of the bronchi it can irritate the lining of the bronchus and cause a chronic cough. Otherwise known as "smokers cough". In serious conditions of this cough some might actually cough up blood. If the cancer spreads it may fill up the bronchus so air cannot easily pass in or out. Repeated lung infections and pneumonia are common with this condition. If a tumor is located in the outer part of a lung it may not produce any symptoms until it is fairly large. Finally lung cancer may be carried through by the blood or lymph to circulate through the body and be deposited in other organs. This occurrence is called metastasis. Metastasis has also been known to take cancers from other parts of the body and put it into the lungs. The leading cause of lung cancer is smoking. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 different chemicals, many of which are carcinogens (may cause cancer). The three of the most damaging toxins are nicotine, tars, and carbon monoxide. Second-hand smoke inhaled by both smokers and nonsmokers is another important cause of lung cancer. Smoking is responsible for 90% of lung cancer deaths among men, 79% among women. Also smoking accounts for about 30% of all cancer deaths. Smokers that inhale two or more packs of cigarettes a day, have a cancer mortality rate 12-25 times greater than a nonsmokers. The risk of lung cancer falls dramatically within a couple years if smoking is stopped. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. It is a radioactive gas found in the earth's rocks and soil, formed by the natural breakdown of radium. Excessive exposure of radon in the home may increase the risk of lung cancer especially in smokers. If the radon levels are found to be to high, remedial actions should be taken. Another cause of cancer is on the job exposure to carcinogens. The best known carcinogen is asbestos. Others include nickel, chromate, and vinyl chloride. Risk of lung cancer is greatly increased when combined with smoking. By the time symptoms occur, lung cancer is usually well advanced. Some of the symptoms that people with lung cancer have are a chronic cough, coughing up blood, wheezing, repeated bronchitis, pneumonia, or chest pains. If someone has any one of these symptoms for a two week period straight, they should see their doctor. Sputum from a cough would be examined for cancer cells or one could have a chest x-ray or CAT scan done. The final way for a doctor to check one's lungs for cancer would be to have a bronchoscopy or biopsy. The five year survival rate for a person with lung cancer is 13%. There has been little progress in the early detection of lung cancer. Surgery may cure lung cancer in some people if it is caught early enough. Radiation and chemotherapy are also used along surgery. In these past few years smokers are finding fewer and fewer places to smoke. For example, in Jan. of 93 President Bill Clinton passed a law banning smoking at the White House. Then in June Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradly signed a bill prohibiting smoking in all of LA's 7,000 restaurants. Many states have followed these leads and are banning smoking in public places. If laws banning smoking continue throughout the word maybe someday we will have smoke free environment with a much reduced risk of lung cancer. Finally, to help prevent lung cancer in your body a smoker should quit as soon as possible, and if your already a nonsmoker you should make sure to stay in smoke-free environment. Also, if you live in an area that is known for high levels of radon you should have your house checked. To everyone that is fighting lung cancer, in the words of the late Jimmy Valvano, "Don't give up, don't ever give up." He was just one of the many cancer victims that always tried his hardest.