Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is a type of cancer affecting the lungs. It is currently the second most common type of cancer in the Philippines after breast cancer. It may spread (metastasize) to lymph nodes or other organs in the body, such as the brain. However, cancers from other organs may also spread to the lungs.
Last Updated: February 25, 2024

A cancerous mass or tumor starts from one abnormal cell, and is thought to be caused by something that damages or changes certain genes in the cell. These changes make the cell abnormal and multiply out of control. Certain factors can increase the risk for developing cancer, including: • Cigarette smoking - is the leading one risk factor for lung cancer • Second-hand smoke exposure • Radon exposure • Other substances, including asbestos, arsenic, diesel exhaust, and some forms of silica and chromium • Family history of lung cancer • Radiation therapy to the chest

Different people have different symptoms for lung cancer. Some people have symptoms related to the lungs. Some people whose lung cancer has spread to other parts of the body (metastasized) have symptoms specific to that part of the body. Some people just have general symptoms of not feeling well. Most people with lung cancer don’t have symptoms until the cancer is advanced. These symptoms include: • Coughing that gets worse or doesn’t go away • Chest pain • Shortness of breath • Wheezing • Coughing up blood • Feeling very tired all the time • Weight loss with no known cause

Suspected cases of lung cancer are usually screened using a chest X-ray. Further imaging with a computerized tomography (CT) scan may help confirm the diagnosis, while a positron emission tomography (PET) scan and a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may show if the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body. To look for abnormal cells and to identify which type of cancer is present, a biopsy of the suspected mass is taken and is studied under a microscope. Management options which may be considered include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The treatment advised for each case depends on various factors, such as: • The site of the primary tumor in the lung • The type of cancer • The stage of the cancer (how large the cancer is and whether it has spread) • The individual’s general health

The most important way to help prevent developing lung cancer is stopping or avoiding cigarette smoking. The individual may consult a doctor for help in smoking cessation. People with an increased risk of lung cancer may consider annual lung cancer screening using low-dose CT scans. Lung cancer screening is generally offered to people 55 and older who smoked heavily for many years and are otherwise healthy. For a more thorough assessment of your cancer risk, ask your doctor.
Last Updated: February 25, 2024