lungs are important organs playing a major role in respiration, exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. In other
words, the lungs rid the blood of carbon dioxide and provide to cells oxygen necessary for their proper
functioning. To perform this vital work, the lungs must be in good condition; the cells must be born, live, die
and replaced by new ones thanks to a biochemical event called apoptosis (natural programmed cell death). Unfortunately, sometimes,
there is uncontrolled cell growth in the lung tissue leading to a malignant cell growth; this condition is
called lung cancer.
Lung cancer is caused by
abnormal cell growth in the lung tissue. Depending on the group of cells affected and the severity f the tumor,
lung cancer can be:
- Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCL) – also called non-small cell lung carcinoma,
this type of lung cancer tends to grow locally. Unlike small cell lung cancer, NSCL is slow to metastasize.
Approximately 85% of lung cancers are non-small cell lung carcinoma.
- Small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) –
unlike the “non-small cell” small cell lung cancer grows rapidly in the larger
airways and tends to spread into other organs to form other tumors (metastasis). Small cell lung carcinoma
is responsible for about 15% of all lung cancers.