What is lung cancer? Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that start off in one or both lungs; usually in the cells that line the air passages and lungs. It is common in Malaysia and is a leading cause of cancer in the whole world. Globally, amongst all cancers, it is the number one killer in men and women. Primary lung cancer originates in the lungs, while secondary lung cancer starts somewhere else in the body and then spreads (metastasizes) to the lungs. Lung cancer can be classified into two main types based on the cancer’s appearance under a microscope:
- Small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) -20%
- Non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) – 80%
What are the warning signs of possible lung cancer? – Cough – Coughing out blood – Shortness of breath – Chest pain – Bone pain include joint stiffness and pain and swelling in wrists and ankle. – Loss of weight – Loss of appetite – Slowly recovering or recurrent lung infection – Loss of normal shape of the finger nails – Supraclavicular or axillary lymph node enlargement – One sided (drooping eyelid, dilated pupil, decrease sweating, sunken eye balls) – Hoarseness of voice What should you do if you think you have lung cancer? 1) Write down any symptoms you are experiencing and note when the symptoms began. 2) Visit your family doctor or a general practitioner immediately. 3) If your doctor suspects you have lung cancer, you will likely be referred to a specialist for further investigations. More diagnostic tests (eg: Chest X-Ray, CT scan, sputum tests etc) would be done. 4) If you are a smoker, you should immediately stop smoking Prepared by A/PROF RUMI KHAJOTIA Helped by IMU students: CHEING WEI JIANN, GERALDINE LEE YUE HUI , LEE CHEE HUI, TAN YVONNE A/Prof Rumi Khajotia MBBS (Bom), MD (Bom), MD (Vienna), FAMA (Vienna), FAMS (Vienna) Associate Professor in Pulmonary and Internal Medicine, International Medical University, Malaysia Consultant Pulmonologist, Hospital Tuanku Ja’afar, Seremban, Malaysia A/Prof Rumi Khajotia is a Consultant Pulmonologist. His fields of interest include COPD, Bronchial Asthma and Lung Cancer. He has published a number of research articles and case studies in peer-reviewed international medical journals, on these subjects.