Lung Cancer - Its Risk in Related Careers and Environment
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Lung Cancer - Its Risk in Related Careers and Environment

Cancer of the lung, like all cancers, results from an abnormality in the body's basic unit of life, the cell. Normally, the body maintains a system of checks and balances on cell growth so that cells divide to produce new cells only when new cells are needed. Disruption of this system of checks and balances on cell growth results in an uncontrolled division and proliferation of cells that eventually forms a mass known as a tumor.



Nearly three years from now, a dear friend pass away due to lung cancer. He was working in the San Francisco Opera for more than 15 years. His first job was a tailor in the costume department and he was a good tailor, I mean really good one. As he moves on, he becomes the cutter and then the trouble shooter of the finished costumes of theatrical artists and performers. He personally measured costumes for Luciano Pavarotti and other famous classical singers of the opera.

He has diabetic and he managed it. His brain tumor was successfully deleted by surgery but he didn’t survive lung cancer. He is a smoker. Do the textiles he’s working with have something to do with lung cancer?

Last September 1, another friend died of lung cancer. He was an expert aircraft mechanic.

He worked with PAL (Philippine Airlines) for years. He went across the miles to work. He work in Nigeria for almost three years and he come back going down the plane on a wheelchair straight to the hospital, August 6. He was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and three months to live, but he didn’t survive the first month. He is a smoker. Do the chemicals or smoke in his work area have something to do with lung cancer?

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Cancer of the lung, like all cancers, results from an abnormality in the body's basic unit of life, the cell. Normally, the body maintains a system of checks and balances on cell growth so that cells divide to produce new cells only when new cells are needed. Disruption of this system of checks and balances on cell growth results in an uncontrolled division and proliferation of cells that eventually forms a mass known as a tumor.

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Tumors can be benign or malignant; when we speak of "cancer," we are referring to those tumors that are malignant. Benign tumors usually can be removed and do not spread to other parts of the body. Malignant tumors, on the other hand, grow aggressively and invade other tissues of the body, allowing entry of tumor cells into the bloodstream or lymphatic system and then to other sites in the body.

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This process of spread is termed metastasis; the areas of tumor growth at these distant sites are called metastases. Since lung cancer tends to spread or metastasize very early after it forms, it is a very life-threatening cancer and one of the most difficult cancers to treat. While lung cancer can spread to any organ in the body, certain organs -- particularly the adrenal glands, liver, brain, and bone -- are the most common sites for lung cancer metastasis.


The lung also is a very common site for metastasis from tumors in other parts of the body. Tumor metastases are made up of the same type of cells as the original (primary) tumor. For example, if prostate cancer spreads via the bloodstream to the lungs, it is metastatic prostate cancer in the lung and is not lung cancer.

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The principal function of the lungs is to exchange gases between the air we breathe and the blood. Through the lung, carbon dioxide is removed from the bloodstream and oxygen from inspired air enters the bloodstream. The right lung has three lobes, while the left lung is divided into two lobes and a small structure called the lingula that is the equivalent of the middle lobe on the right. The major airways entering the lungs are the bronchi, which arise from the trachea. The bronchi branch into progressively smaller airways called bronchioles that end in tiny sacs known as alveoli where gas exchange occurs. The lungs and chest wall are covered with a thin layer of tissue called the pleura.


Lung cancers can arise in any part of the lung, but 90%-95% of cancers of the lung are thought to arise from the epithelial cells, the cells lining the larger and smaller airways (bronchi and bronchioles); for this reason, lung cancers are sometimes called bronchogenic cancers or bronchogenic carcinomas. (Carcinoma is another term for cancer.) Cancers also can arise from the pleura (called mesotheliomas) or rarely from supporting tissues within the lungs, for example, the blood vessels.


What are the Symptoms of Lung Cancer?

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These are the most common lung cancer symptoms:

• A persistent cough that does not go away

• Shortness of breath

• Onset of wheezing

• Recurrent pneumonia or bronchitis

• Coughing up blood

• Hoarseness

• Weight loss or loss of appetite


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Unfortunately, none of these symptoms will alert you early enough to prevent the disease before it occurs. Symptoms usually do not appear, nor is a diagnosis made until the disease is already at an advanced stage. This means that you need to be pro-active concerning your health so you can prevent these symptoms from ever getting a chance to appear.


What Causes Lung Cancer?

By far the biggest cause of lung cancer is smoking.

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In the U.S. alone, there are an estimated 26.2 million men (23.5 percent) and 20.9 million women (18.1 percent) who smoke. These people are at an elevated risk for lung, breast, throat, stomach, and other cancers, as well as heart attacks, strokes, emphysema, asthma, and a variety of other illnesses.

A person who smokes more than one pack of cigarettes a day has a 20-25 times greater risk of developing lung cancer than someone who has never smoked.

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And while not all lung cancer is caused by smoking, about 85-90 percent is.

Sadly, this is a disease that is easily preventable. If you don’t smoke, please don’t start. It is not only an expensive and messy habit, but it is a dangerous one. There is nothing good that can be said about smoking. It is guaranteed to increase your risk of dying prematurely and suffering needlessly.

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Some people think only those who smoke can get lung cancer. While it is true that smoking is the greatest risk factor for lung cancer, there are a number of other ways that you can contract this disease.


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If you are a smoker, the unfortunate fact is that you will always have a much higher risk of developing lung cancer from any other cause than a non-smoker, simply because you are already dealing with the greatest risk factor: smoking. Adding other risk factors on to that simply means you are even more at risk than you were before for developing the disease.


However, even if you don’t smoke, you can be at significant risk for developing lung cancer if one or more of the following risk factors are present:

• Exposure to radon

• Exposure to asbestos

• Air pollution

• Exposure to other chemicals

• Increasing age


Radon and Lung Cancer

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The World Health Organization released its mortality statistics--never a fun document to read. But one stat stood out, and was pounced on by the EPA: 20,000 Americans were killed from simply living in their homes last year. The culprit is the under-publicized and underestimated radioactive gas radon that emanates from rocks and soil. Radon kills more people every year than drunk driving, fires, and carbon monoxide.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking in America, and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. According to EPA statistics, it claims about 20,000 lives annually.


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Your chances of getting lung cancer from radon depend mostly on:

• The level of radon in your home

• The amount of time you spend in your home

• Whether you are a smoker or have ever smoked


Logically, smokers are far worse off when it comes to radon raising their lung cancer risk as their lungs are already compromised. Children and developing fetuses are also especially vulnerable to radiation, as it can cause other forms of cancer as well.


According to the EPA, if 1,000 smokers were exposed to the “action” radon level of 4 pCi/L over a lifetime, about 62 of them would get lung cancer from the radiation, compared to only about 7 out of 1,000 non-smokers.


Asbestos and Lung Cancer


Exposure to asbestos is also a risk factor for contracting lung cancer. Asbestos is a mineral that occurs as a long thin fiber, environmentally. Despite asbestos being banned in the1980s due to its health dangers, it was still used in many industrial and insulation materials as a fire retardant and much of that construction is still around.

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Many people came in contact with asbestos unknowingly, sometimes while working in their attic installing insulation, or perhaps by moving the insulation around during repairs or renovations. Others become exposed to asbestos as factory workers, or possibly as part of a construction crew demolishing an old building or ship.

There are a number of jobs that may expose people to asbestos, directly or indirectly.

The Careers:

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• Factory work

• Demolition

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• Insulation

• Shipbuilding

• Carpentry

• Installation of vehicle brake linings

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The danger of contracting this disease begins when you come in contact with asbestos and inhale some of its tiny fibers or particles. These particles can then become lodged in your lungs as irritants.

The disease that develops from chronic asbestos exposure, and occasionally from exposure to other environmental toxins, is called Mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a cancer of your lung lining, from which its name is taken.


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Mesothelioma develops when malignant cells develop in your mesothelium, the protective lining that covers most of your body’s internal organs. Its most common site is the pleura, or outer lining of your lungs and internal chest cavity. Family members can also become exposed to asbestos from a worker’s clothing, when handling the clothing, and dust is released and inhaled.

This means that protective face gear is a must if you work in an at-risk area, and you should also be extremely careful if you routinely work with clothing that has been worn in an at-risk area.

Air Pollution and Lung Cancer

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While air pollution is a less frequent cause of lung cancer than the two previous causes I’ve discussed, there are instances where air pollution can lead to serious lung afflictions such as lung cancer.


One such study was conducted in 2003, when researchers from Brigham Young University and New York University studied 500,000 adults who had enrolled in 1982 in an American Cancer Society survey on cancer prevention.


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The researchers examined the adults’ health records for almost two decades, and analyzed data on annual air pollution averages in the cities in which the participants lived. They took into account other risk factors for heart and lung disease such as cigarettes, diet, weight, and occupation.


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Lung cancer death rates were compared with average pollution levels, as measured in micrograms per cubic meter of air.


To be concluded

Researchers found that the number of lung cancer deaths increased 8 percent for every increase of 10 micrograms of pollution.

Researchers were able to determine that air pollution contributed to a “small but significant increase” in lung cancer risks.

Air pollution, particularly when coupled with another risk factor, smoking, is a significant cause of lung cancer.


One solution is to seriously consider moving, if you live in a large, metropolitan city. Large cities invariably carry greater risks of air pollution simply due to more people per square mile, more companies creating air pollution, and certainly more pollution from automobiles, buses, and trains, which is highly carcinogenic.

I would also suggest that even if you don’t live in a large city, find out what the air quality readings are in your community. If you’re a U.S. resident, one way of assessing your level of exposure in the area you live is by checking out the U.S. Environmental Protection.




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Comments (12)

Tx for info.

An excellent presentation. Everyone needs to read this one.

Some very sad and disturbing points. I have never heard of Radon gas. My Grandfather worked most of his adult life in the coal mines, he did smoke when he was a soldier, he died of lung cancer.

I don't know about across The Pond, but Radon Gas has been a big deal in the media here in the states for years. Every one needs to have a Radon Gas test performed on their homes regularly.

Nothing like that here in the UK... I guess we must be safe.

Radon Gas is a natural phenomenon. There isn't any place safe from it. Here's a couple of links you might like to check out. And here's one for where you can order a Radon Tester kit

Ranked #1 in Lung Conditions

Thanks for the information Jerry, many thanks too Lisa and Bethany, I hope this output can help. Every comments is deeply appreciated.

Great work and another eye opener, Ron. Smoking is jus a way of life to many.

Ranked #1 in Lung Conditions

Everyone, thanks for the read, votes, and comments, highly appreciated.


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