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Article at work " Cancer Corner"

Donna G

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November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, so I thought I would provide some information on Lung Cancer. by Mary Schroeder, Onocology Nurse Educator.

The lung is a very complex organ. Most of us associate the lung with breathing. We must also realize that the lung has other very important functions in our body. The lung also:

..............Localizes and repels various infectious organisms

..............Helps maintain water balance, and

..............Produces a number of hormones.

The cells that make up the lining of the lung look very much like the inside lining of your cheek. The cellullar structure of the lung tissue is far more complex, however. The lung consists of three different zones.

..............1. The cells that line the trachea and the first portion of the large airways are squamous cells. These cells serve as a protective layer against various inhaled substances.

...............2. The more central zones of the lung, often referred to as the secretory zones of the lung, are lined with a series of cells that produce very thin watery mucus. Tiny hairs on these ciliated cells constantly move this thin mucus, ( which traps various inhaled particles) from the outer portions of the lung, up through the trachea and ultimately the mouth.

...............3The farthest portions of the lung consists of literally millions of tiny air sacs, called alveoli. In the alveoli, the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place. Here too, the process of controlling the body's water balance via evaporation takes place.

The toxic products in cigarette smoke affect each of these 3 areas of the lung differently. Some lung cancers can spontaneously arise without a history of smoking, however the majority of lung cancer results from heavy sustained smoking.

There are four types of lung cancer, which in the past were thought to behave differently. In reality most lung cancer behave quite similarly with only minor adjustments in how they are treated and respond to therapy. These types are:

Small-cell lung cancer that arises from the hormonal cells in the lung.

Non-small cell lung cancer which includes:

1. squamous cell cancers which arise in the large airways.

2. Adenocarcicomas ( including large cell cancers) which occur in the secretory portion of the lung

3. Bronchoalveolar carcinomas, which arise in the cells that make up the small air sacs.

Each of these cancers retain some of the characteristics of the area of the lung in which they arose, thereby behaving somewhat differently that the other forms of lung cancer. For most treatment regimens, the types of cancer are divided into 2 groups. Small cell lung cancers that arise from the hormonal cells in the lungs, and other forms, which are grouped together and called non-small cell lung cancers. Approximately 80% of all lung cancers are of the non-small cell type. The type of cell and understanding of the typical sites to which that cell type spreads is key to determine the patient's therapy.

As each of us increases our knowledge of cancer we realize that the treatment regimens are very specific and quided by the cell type, location, size, and area of metastasis. Another important fact is the ealier the diagnosis the increased probability of a successful treatment outcome. And last but not least , we can make major strides in beating lung cancer by talking and teaching primary prevention. Please work with your friends and especially your children to encourage them to never start smoking. Today's cigarette can result in tomorrow's cancer.

Mary writes an article for us every month about cancer, I had missed this one til yesterday because I was having fun on vacation. Donna G

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Thanks for sharing this information.

Is Mary the same Mary from the hospital? She is one one of the most kind and gentle people we knew. I know Randy and I learned alot from her and I am deeply grateful to her.

Hope you had lots of fun on vacation.

Much love,


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