Lung cancer is a deadly disease that jeopardizes health of people globally. Diagnosis of this disease has made it difficult to be prevented or treated since no single test has been found to diagnose lung cancer accurately. Hence, series of tests have been implemented to test for this disease. The diagnosis of the disease has enabled doctors to come up with some specific and accurate preventive measures that have been put in place to reduce the incidences of this disease. The section of this paper will therefore discuss laboratory measures and diagnosis of lung cancer, useful tumors of cancer diagnosis and some preventive measures that are implemented to reduce the incidence of lung cancer.
Although no single test has been found to diagnose cancer, several methods have been put in the laboratory to identify this disease. First is chest x-ray. This is the first line of diagnosis of lung cancer whenever there are convincing lung cancer symptoms. The procedure of chest x-ray involves view of back, front and sides of the chest(Held & Schiech, 2014). Although this method cannot determine lung cancer, evidence of hamartomas is in the chest may mimic the present of lung cancer. Second is computerized tomography (CT). This is the scan that might be ordered when x-ray shows no abnormality in the cells. It combines use of multiple images at different angles of the body. It is more sensitive than x-ray since it shows more nodules of the chest.
Another common laboratory diagnosis is sputum cytology. The diagnosis of this disease often requires identification of malignant cells. The sputum examination allows the identification of tumor cells under the microscope for diagnosis. This is the known risk free and inexpensive measure of diagnosis. It has one disadvantage: the tumor cells may always not be present in sputum even when cancer is present. Fourth is bronchoscopy. This is the examination of the airways through fiber optic probe that is inserted through the mouth or the nose (McCarthy & Jeon, 2012). Lung cell tumor in the central airways is thoroughly examined for cancer cells. This is risky and must be done by a pulmonologist.
Blood test is also commonly used to examine lung cancer. This one alone cannot diagnose cancer but it can reveal metabolic and biochemical abnormalities associated with cancer. For example metastatic cancer can be accompanied by certain level of calcium or alkaline phosphate enzyme; this is a hint for cancer and gives chance for further testing (Held & Schiech, 2014). Likewise, present of aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase signals lung damage through metastatic tumor.() says that, biomarkers or specific proteins in blood signalize present of cancer in the lungs. A complete blood count (CBC) determines number, size, and maturity of blood cells. The abnormal occurrence of number of blood cells indicates an infection. Hence, regular blood checkup is necessary for lung cancer diagnosis.
Needle biopsy is also a major method of lung cancer diagnosis. It may be used in retrieving cells from tumor nodules that occur in the lungs. This useful particularly when the tumor is located in the peripheral region and cannot be accessed by bronchoscopy (Fawcett & Rynas, 2012). Lastly is thoracentecis: in some cases the lung cancer may be in pleural lining of the lungs and can lie between the chest wall and the lungs. This involves aspiration of this region for further diagnosis. Risk of pneumothorax may be involved in this procedure.
There are several markers of lung cancer; first is neuron specific enolase (NSE). It has no sensitivity required for screening but it has been supported by numerous studies in diagnosis. High amount of serum with suspicion of malignancy indicates the presence of small cell lung cancer. Likewise, patients have been found with moderate NSE in the lungs as colorectal, gastric and breast cancer. Second is carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA). Its concentration is particularly very high in adenocarcinoma and lung cancer, but elevated concentrations is also found in various benign and some malignancies preclude its use in screening and limit its diagnostic use (Zakowski, 2013). However, it may be useful in the differential diagnosis of non-large cell lung cancer. It may give prognostic information particularly in cases of adenocarcinoma found in the lungs. CEA also has a role in monitoring therapy stages and also detecting non-small cell adenocarcinoma.
Another important lung cancer marker is squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCCA). It is also less sensitive but it has superior sensitivity for squamous cancer of the cell hence is used in histological subtyping. It can be used significantly in the diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer in combination with CEA. Progastrin-releasing peptide (ProGRP) is another lung cancer marker for small cell lung cancer, with good specificity and sensitivity (Luo et al.), although in view of the incidence of small cell lung cancer in the general population these are not high enough to allow its use in screening.
There are several ways of reducing the incidence of lung cancer. First is minimizing use of tobacco. Tobacco is the main cause of lung cancer worldwide estimated to be 22% of cancer death per year (Murugan et al.). Tobacco smoking may cause many types of cancer such as esophagus, larynx and even mouth. When consumption of too much tobacco is stopped, the incidence of lung cancer can really go down worldwide. Second is observation of diet and exercise. Dietary is very important in lung cancer control. Excess consumption of red meat may be associated with the risk of contracting lung cancer (Murugan et al.). Hence, good eating habits are also factors in lung cancer incidence reduction. On the same note, exercise ensures a healthy body with no or little diseases.
Environmental pollution also accounts for 4% of all cancer including lung cancer. Highly pollute area should be avoided since they contain carcinogenic compounds that can find themselves in the body through water drinking or in haling. Ionizing radiation has been long time researched to be the source of lung cancer. This is evidenced by Japan A-bomb survivors who were found to have several types of cancers. Avoiding such areas reduces cancer incidence
Lastly, risk factor of lung cancer increases with the increase of alcohol consumption. For example, 22% of mouth and lung cancer was noted in people taking alcohol in a research done in a university in Nigeria (Murugan et al.). This suggests that reduction in alcohol consumption will reduce prevalence of lung cancer.
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