Lung Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and FAQs

Lung cancer is a malignant condition that begins in the lungs. It is one of the most common forms of cancer worldwide, with a significant impact on health. In this article, we will delve into the various aspects of lung cancer, including its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, precautions, and the available treatments in India's top hospitals.

Introduction to Lung cancer

Lung cancer is a severe and life-threatening medical condition that primarily affects the lungs. It is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both lungs. Lung cancer can start in different parts of the lungs and can be broadly categorized into two main types: non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). NSCLC is more common and tends to grow and spread more slowly, while SCLC is usually more aggressive and spreads rapidly.

Causes of Lung cancer

Lung cancer primarily develops due to the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the lungs. The leading causes of lung cancer include:


Cigarette, cigar, and pipe smoking are the most significant risk factors for lung cancer. Tobacco smoke contains harmful chemicals that damage lung cells over time.

Secondhand Smoke:

Exposure to secondhand smoke can also increase the risk of lung cancer, especially in nonsmokers.

Radon Gas:

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can seep into homes and buildings, potentially causing lung cancer.

Occupational Exposure:

Some workplace environments, such as those with exposure to asbestos, arsenic, or certain chemicals, can increase the risk of lung cancer.

Family History:

A family history of lung cancer may indicate a genetic predisposition to the disease.

Air Pollution:

Prolonged exposure to high levels of air pollution can contribute to lung cancer development.

Symptoms of Lung cancer

The symptoms of lung cancer can vary depending on the stage and type of cancer. Common symptoms include:

1. Persistent Cough: A chronic cough that worsens over time is a common early sign of lung cancer.

2. Chest Pain: Chest pain that worsens with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing may be a symptom.

3. Shortness of Breath: Lung cancer can cause a feeling of breathlessness, even during routine activities.

4. Coughing Up Blood: If you cough up blood or rust-colored sputum, seek immediate medical attention.

5. Fatigue: Unexplained fatigue and weakness can be associated with lung cancer.

6. Unexplained Weight Loss: Significant weight loss without dieting or exercise may be a symptom.

7. Hoarseness: Changes in the voice, such as hoarseness, can result from lung cancer affecting the vocal cords.

8. Recurrent Infections: Frequent lung infections, such as bronchitis or pneumonia, can be indicative of lung cancer.

Diagnosis of Lung cancer

Timely diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment. Diagnosis often involves the following steps:

1. Medical History and Physical Examination: Your doctor will review your medical history and perform a physical examination.

2. Imaging Tests: Chest X-rays, CT scans, and PET scans are used to visualize the lungs and detect any abnormalities.

3. Sputum Cytology: Analysis of mucus coughed up from the lungs can reveal cancer cells.

4. Biopsy: A tissue sample (biopsy) is taken for laboratory examination to confirm the presence of cancer and determine its type.

5. Staging: Staging determines the extent and spread of cancer, helping to plan appropriate treatment.

Precautions for Lung cancer

Preventing lung cancer involves reducing risk factors:

1. Quit Smoking: If you smoke, quitting is the most effective way to reduce your risk.

2. Avoid Secondhand Smoke: Minimize exposure to secondhand smoke.

3. Test for Radon: Test your home for radon and take measures to reduce exposure if levels are high.

4. Protect Against Occupational Hazards: If your workplace involves exposure to carcinogens, follow safety guidelines.

5. Reduce Air Pollution Exposure: Stay informed about air quality and limit outdoor activities during poor air quality days.

Treatments for Lung cancer

Treatment for lung cancer depends on the type and stage of the disease. Top hospitals in India offer the following treatment options:

1. Surgery: Surgical removal of the tumor may be recommended for early-stage lung cancer.

2. Radiation Therapy: High-energy radiation is used to target and kill cancer cells.

3. Chemotherapy: Medications are administered to kill cancer cells or inhibit their growth.

4. Targeted Therapy: Drugs are used to target specific genetic mutations in cancer cells.

5. Immunotherapy: This treatment boosts the body's immune system to fight cancer.

6. Palliative Care: Supportive care aims to alleviate symptoms and improve the patient's quality of life.

Top Hospitals in India

India is renowned for its advanced medical facilities. Some of the top hospitals for lung cancer treatment in India include:

1. Apollo Hospitals, Chennai

2. Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai

3. Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon

4. All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi

5. Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai

6. Max Super Specialty Hospital, New Delhi

7. Christian Medical College, Vellore

These hospitals offer state-of-the-art facilities and a team of experienced oncologists.


In conclusion, lung cancer is a complex condition that requires early detection and a personalized treatment plan. India's top hospitals provide world-class care and treatment options, offering hope to those affected by this disease. If you or a loved one is facing lung cancer, it's crucial to seek timely medical advice and explore the available resources for support and treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

While it may not be preventable in all cases, lifestyle choices like quitting smoking, avoiding secondhand smoke, and reducing exposure to carcinogens can significantly reduce the risk of lung cancer.

Complementary therapies like acupuncture and meditation can help manage symptoms and side effects, but they should not replace conventional medical treatment.

Staging is typically determined based on the size and extent of the tumor, lymph node involvement, and whether the cancer has spread to other organs.

The curability of lung cancer depends on the stage at which it is diagnosed. Early-stage lung cancer has a higher chance of being cured.

The success rate varies depending on factors like the stage of cancer, the patient's overall health, and the skill of the surgical team. Discuss outcomes with your healthcare provider.

In some cases, immunotherapy may be used as a first-line treatment, especially for certain types of lung cancer.

Some hospitals offer financial assistance programs, and government schemes may provide support for cancer treatment.

A balanced diet that supports overall health is important. Consult a healthcare provider or nutritionist for personalized dietary recommendations.

The duration of treatment varies depending on the type and stage of lung cancer. It can range from weeks to several months.

Yes, lung cancer can recur, which is why regular follow-up appointments and surveillance are essential.

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