Thursday, 16 August 2012
Read my article in Total Health Magazine: FUHGEDDABOUTIT! -The Holistic Approach to Quitting Smoking
Wednesday, 27 June 2012
“On average, adults who smoke cigarettes die 14 years earlier than non-smokers”
Ref: Annual Smoking – Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Economic Costs – United States, 1995-1999. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2002: 51 (14): 300-303 quoted by The National Cancer Institute
Due to the many requests I have received asking me to clearly explain the serious diseases that smoking generates, I have posted this paper. It is very long, and very heavy going – as that is the nature of the damage against the body that smoking creates. You may want to read a part of it, and then come back to it. What I hope it does do, is to propel people who are thinking of quitting into urgent action! One of the most important points I want to relay is: Cardiovascular disease and cancer take many years to develop – they can be 20 or 30 years in the process – while you are blissfully leading your life and making plans, totally unaware that this is going on. – Then suddenly - after all those years, the body’s internal workings can no longer cope. – At this stage symptoms start to manifest, and very sadly it is often too late and past the point of no return.
The vast majority of smokers live in countries which are or were on the low to middle position of the socio-economic scale. In countries which are developing, approximately 58% of men and 9% of women smoke; and in developed countries approximately 35% of men and 22% of women smoke. The transfer of the nicotine epidemic from rich to poor countries seems increasingly inevitable. I have spent time in many of these poorer nations, and have witnessed that cigarettes e.g. the hugely advertised Marlboro, are often just a fraction of the standard price - and where in many cases, smoking appears to replace proper food; and in some, seems to have replaced the natural instinct of just wanting to breathe in fresh air.
FROM SAMUEL PEPYS TO THE SURGEON GENERAL
In 1665 the consequences of using tobacco were first laid down in a medical report. This report by a British Royal Society, was the result of an experiment witnessed by Samuel Pepys in which a cat rapidly died after receiving “a drop of distilled oil of tobacco”. – If only that poor unfortunate cat had made an impact!
Moving onto 1791 a London physician reported cases in which the use of snuff created nasal cancers, and in 1795 a report on cancers of the lip in pipe smokers emerged in the U.S. Then in 1798 a physician known as the Father of American Psychiatry, claimed that smoking or chewing tobacco lead to drunkenness!
It then took all the way until the 1930s for a few published reports in the
and U.S. to link smoking with lung cancer. Then in 1938 a doctor at John Hopkins University reported to the New York Academy of Medicine that smokers do not live as long as non-smokers. The next year in Germany , the world’s first controlled epidemiological studies of the tobacco-lung relationship, and the record rise in tobacco sales along with increasing lung cancer, and a report on the correlation of smoking and other forms of cancer were presented. As the reports were only limited, and the horrors of the impending Second World War were on their way, the data was automatically shelved. In fact, as part of the war effort, President Roosevelt made tobacco a protected crop, and Eleanor Roosevelt, his wife, was named “the first lady to smoke in public. Cigarette sales were rocketing and very few doctors even questioned the health risks. Cigarette advertising was blatantly running at full thrust in the American medical journals, enticing the physicians who read them. - One advert read: “The Thoughtful Physician Sends Cigarettes to His Patients Overseas”, and another: “More Doctors Smoke Camels”. Germany
Moving on to the late 1940s, the impact of modern science gave birth to the concept of the link between smoking and disease. Various forms of data from both
Europe and the were put together, and evidence citing smoking as a cause of cancer lead to cancer scares in 1950 when the first major study linked smoking to lung cancer. US
It was not until 1964 however, that the
Surgeon General stated that smoking causes lung cancer, and named smoking as the most significant cause of chronic bronchitis, pointing out a link between smoking and emphysema and smoking and coronary heart disease. – Naturally, this did not please the irresponsible and deceptive tobacco giants who responded by punching back with highly devious and aggressive multi-million dollar legal and political lines of attack. – The underhand corporations have put off and escaped government regulation and liability lawsuits over the years by the use of three primary arguments: US
1. Has been that there was no irrefutable data that smoking actually caused disease.
2. Is that smoking is not addictive, and that it is an individual's wish to smoke. (This argument, which is the only one there can be, still stands).
3. Is that they are totally devoted to the scientific truth relating to the consequences of smoking on health, through their own independent investigation, and subsidized external research.
It seems that in the early 1960s BAT (British American Tobacco) and B&W (Brown and Williamson) were fully aware that nicotine was pharmacologically addictive. Publicly however, it was a very different case, and the tobacco industry categorically insisted that nicotine was not addictive.
Regretfully, the scientific institutions of government around the world took a dangerously long time to acknowledge nicotine dependence, and it took right up until 1988 for the US Surgeon General to conclude that cigarettes and other types of tobacco such as cigars, pipe tobacco and chewing tobacco are addictive, and that nicotine is the drug responsible for addiction. – You can draw your own conclusions as to the reason why this statement took so long. Research currently shows that nicotine levels would have to be reduced by a staggering 95% in order to lower addiction.
According to the estimates of the World Health Organisation, over 15 billion cigarettes are smoked worldwide every day. - So until the foreseeable future this almighty wheel of greed, blue stock shares and exploitation will keep on moving as it runs over and kills countless millions on its way.
I have gone into explicit detail on the various diseases and illnesses related to smoking. Whilst it may make gruesome reading, it is designed to give you an idea of the cold hard facts. – This assimilation of knowledge is all part and parcel of the protocol – an aspect intended to give you a far deeper awareness and understanding of the physiological processes that you could face. Having this knowledge and imagery will hopefully give you a jolt – an electric shock into getting set and staying on the wagon.
The pathophysiology of smoking associated diseases is highly complicated and SMOKING ADVERSELY AFFECTS GENETIC DNA. – This can create a broad range of serious repercussions – and this genetic damage may well be passed on to children.
“Smoking is a Kind of Suicide”
No 2, The Prisoner
Smoking greatly harms different organ systems resulting in numerous tobacco-related diseases and in many cases, irrevocable degeneration. Other than free radical damage, smoking produces a highly detrimental low-grade systematic inflammatory response. Unfortunately, some inflammatory mediators (mediators are agents in a chemical or biological process) can still be significantly raised in ex-smokers up to 10-20 years after cessation.
Smokers have a higher number of white blood cells (leukocytes) than non-smokers. – The reason for this can be logically understood when one considers the threat the body detects from the continuous onslaught of particles of cigarette smoke. Researchers have determined that an individual’s total white blood cell count maybe a credible marker in the link to disease created by free radicals and toxic substances. Disturbingly, trials show that when long-term ex-smokers are tested, the count is lower than it was when they smoked, but still higher than the count of a person who has never smoked.
HEART AND LUNG DISEASE
Heart and lung disease are both very seriously affected by smoking, and the American Cancer Society has estimated that smoking can steal around 15 years of your life.
The heart is the engine of life – a high performance organ that beats approximately 100,000 times per day and around 3 billion times in a lifetime. With each beat of the heart 70ml of blood is pumped around the body – that equates to
5 litres every minute and 300 litres each hour. And in times of physical stress, the heart can raise its stamina by up to 4-5 times.
Smoking affects the heart and circulation. It can lead to heart attacks and arteriosclerosis which can lead to a range of serious diseases including: strokes (which if not fatal, can result in severe disability and loss of communication), peripheral vascular disease, gangrene, aortic and other aneurysms. Astonishingly, smoking one packet of cigarettes a day generates the same amount of stress on the heart as 90 lbs (41 kgs).
NITRIC OXIDE - THE MOLECULE OF LIFE
Nitric oxide is a chemical messenger and acts as the chief signalling molecule within the body. It affects a broad range of vital physiological functions including: circulation, inflammation, and oxygen release within the tissues. Nitric oxide is involved in the relaxation of blood vessels (which results in lower blood pressure and an increase in blood flow); regeneration of the artery lining, and inhibiting disc-shaped particles found in the blood (platelets) from clumping together.
Smoking generates a toxic reaction from the body’s own nitric oxide, and generates stiff and inflexible blood vessels because of a reduction in nitric oxide levels. Smoking is related to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease through increased hypertension, and platelet clumping. Both conditions can be attributed to the imbalance of nitric oxide.
CORONARY HEART DISEASE
“Cigarette smoking results in a twofold to threefold increased risk of dying from coronary heart disease”
Ref: Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Control. American Public Health Association. 1998; 117-148 as cited by The National Cancer Institute in the
Coronary heart disease (also referred to as heart disease), is the leading cause of death in the
for both men and women. It comes about when there is a blockage in the blood vessels which supply blood, oxygen, and other vital nutrients to the heart. The severity of the blockage can vary from chest pain (angina) on the lower end of the scale, to a life-threatening heart attack. US
Interestingly, “angiogenesis” (the growth of new blood vessels) is a double-edged sword in that it can generate good or harmful results, depending on the form of disease. Researchers are conducting experiments using angiogenesis in individuals with heart disease in order to generate the rebuilding of damaged heart muscle.
Active damage to the cells in the artery walls is created by free radicals from cigarette smoke, fried fat, car fumes, and a poor and/or imbalanced supply of nutrients (which include certain vitamins and minerals as well as essential fatty acids).
Ironically, in an attempt to repair this cellular damage, the body goes against itself, and the cells in the artery walls start to proliferate (rather like cancer cells), and the artery walls start to acquire excess cholesterol from the bloodstream in an attempt to heal the damage. The cholesterol deposits then start to grow - this attracts other fats which are in the blood as well as calcium. – And if there happens to be an excess of cholesterol or fat circulating at the time, then the process is hastened. (Everyone is born with a particular gene pattern which has an influence on their cholesterol level. It is important to know that cholesterol only attaches itself to blood vessels if they are unhealthy, or if fat is oxidised or not removed from the blood as it should be).
To understand the blockage of blood vessels, imagine if you will, this slow and gradual “cellular waste build-up” known as plaque and “atherosclerosis” (which could have started in the teens), and usually affects the large and medium-sized arteries. Now it is logical to understand that as the years add up, this build-up becomes harder and harder and thicker and thicker, until ultimately the walls of the arteries change shape, become narrower, and a partial or total blockage is the result. Plaque narrows the arteries and reduces the flow of blood to the heart muscles. (Tragically, a large percentage of American men in their 20s already have significant blockage of the arteries). Nicotine accelerates the development of atherosclerotic plaque formation.
Plaques that rupture cause blood clots. (Blood clots occur more habitually in smokers than in non-smokers). They are very serious indeed as they can halt the flow of blood, or break free and travel to another region of the body. If a blood vessel which leads to the heart is blocked then the outcome is a heart attack. If a blocked vessel which leads to the brain is blocked, it causes a stroke.
As smoking damages the walls of the blood vessels, the blood supply to the arms or legs can be compromised. – When this happens an individual could experience problems with walking, and in extreme cases, gangrene could set in.
Unfortunately, the early signs of atherosclerosis may not surface until people reach their 50s. The lining of the blood vessels (the endothelium) must be in a good condition in order to prevent atherosclerosis forming, and how can it be that way with the high free radical load produced by smoking?
STATISTICAL RESEARCH CITES CIGARETTE AND TOBACCO SMOKING AS BEING AMONG THE MAJOR RISK FACTORS TO HEART DISEASE THAT AN INDIVIDUAL CAN ADJUST, TREAT OR CONTROL.
As the cardiovascular system is negatively affected if you are overweight, and the larger your waist measurement, the higher your risk of having a heart attack. The cardiovascular system is also unfavourably affected if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, consume too much cholesterol, have more than three alcoholic drinks per day, are stressed, or do not keep fit. If you have a family history of heart disease, or in the case of women - use oral contraceptives, then the risk of heart disease appears to be multiplied.
“People who smoke are up to 6 times more likely to suffer a heart attack than non-smokers, and the risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked”
Ref: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: Your Guide to a Healthy Heart. Quoted by The National Cancer Institute
Whilst men suffer heart attacks around ten years before women, after reaching menopause women catch up. (Women suffer relatively few cardiovascular diseases prior to menopause because they are protected by the hormone oestrogen). Statistics show that within a year of having a heart attack, a higher percentage of women die in comparison to men.
In 2002, a scientific study indicated that even light smokers (women who smoke as few as 3 cigarettes a day, and men who smoke 6 a day) doubled the hazard of having a heart attack.
Owing to a genetic factor, some families are more disposed to heart disease than others. This is because their serum cholesterol and lipoprotein concentrations are naturally on the high side.
On an upbeat note – successful cessation leads to an increase in HDL (high density lipoprotein), the good form of cholesterol.
Whilst there is at present little scientific data available, cigar and pipe smokers appear to have a greater risk of mortality from heart disease and possibly stroke than cigarette smokers.
Smokers who are African descendants are more liable to acquire high blood pressure than their counterparts who are European or Asian descendants. This serious circumstance makes this category of smokers more prone to heart disease. – Further research in this field needs to be done with a matter of urgency.
Individuals who already have coronary artery disease who smoke are liable to suffer from further complications or death. For those who have already suffered a heart attack and are able to successfully quit, then a reduction in future serious developments may well be possible.
Always be aware of any symptoms such as chest pain, inadequate blood flow, leg pain or numbness. – Remember that early exposure can halt development.
During an examination the physician may detect signs of narrowed, enlarged or hardened arteries. Depending on the outcome, further diagnostic tests may be necessary. These include:
Doppler Ultrasound: (an ultrasound device to measure your blood pressure) at various points along your arm or leg. – These measurements can help to determine the degree of any blockages, in addition to the speed of blood flow in the arteries.
Ankle-Brachial Index: In this test the physician can compare the blood pressure in your ankle with the blood pressure in your arm to see if there is an abnormal difference.
Electrocardiogram (ECG): This records the electrical signals as they travel along the heart.
Angiogram: This is the procedure of injecting a special dye into the arteries before a chest X-ray. The dye outlines narrow spots and blockages.
The medical specialist may also employ ultrasound, a CT (computerized tomography) scan or a MRA (magnetic resonance angiogram) to study the arteries. These tests can exhibit the hardening and narrowing of the large arteries, as well as aneurysms and calcium deposits in the artery walls.
It is important to understand the basic workings of the cardiovascular system, and I thoroughly recommend you print out a large coloured picture showing blocked arteries (which look like the inside of tubes coated in lard) from the internet, and display it somewhere you can see it every day.
Type in “pictures of atherosclerosis” in a search engine.
Each and every day we need to breathe in around 20,000 times. Our lungs are highly intricate organs which are required to supply oxygen, remove waste and toxins, and fight against infection. - The red blood cells take up oxygen in the lungs and transport it to all the body’s cells. The cells use oxygen to fuel the burning (combustion) of sugar and fat to create energy. During this process carbon dioxide is formed as a waste by-product of the body’s metabolism. The carbon dioxide binds to the red blood cells which have brought the oxygen into the body, and is carried back to the lungs where it is exchanged for fresh oxygen.
A simple pulmonary function test to accurately measure lung capacity can be made with an instrument called a spirometer. – It measures how much (volume) and how fast (the flow) of air can be moved in and out of the lungs. It is non-invasive, and just involves blowing into a mouthpiece. A computerized sensor calculates and graphs the results. (A blood pressure test is also given). I strongly recommend having a test – often the results are so poor that it can be one of the factors driving smokers to quit. Enquire with your physician or look on the net for providers.
FROM THE NOSE AND MOUTH TO THE ALVEOLI
Air inhaled through the nose and mouth passes through the throat into the tube-like trachea (windpipe). The trachea then divides into two small air passages known as the left and right bronchi which are lined with mucous membranes and cilia. (The left and right bronchi supply the left and right lungs respectively). The bronchi then progressively branch 22 additional times to the bronchioles.
There are over 100,000 bronchioles which consist of very small airways composed of smooth muscle. The bronchioles then lead onto the alveoli – the final branches of the respiratory tree.
There are around 300 million alveoli which consist of microscopic air sacs which resemble grapes, and are similar to sponges. They have very thin elastic walls consisting of a single layer of cells, under which lies a thick network of capillaries which act as the primary gas exchange units of the lungs. Miraculously, when in optimum condition, they provide an enormous surface area of 70M2 for gaseous exchange.
There are many types of cells in the lungs which perform various roles. Some cells help to clear foreign matter, others clean the mucous membranes, and others act on substances crucial to the regulation of blood pressure, infection, or foreign material.
Lung disease is a definition which covers a broad spectrum of diseases and disorders associated with impaired lung function. When polluted by smoking and harmful carcinogens however, the lung tissue is severely weakened in its capacity to stave off disease producing agents. This fragility is caused by damage to the cells and a flagging immune response. – Both of which are perpetuated day in and day out as the addictions continues.
When healthy, a slice of lung resembles a pink sponge filled with tiny bubbles or holes. Smoking transforms the lungs into an unhealthy darker colour, with black spots on the surface caused by carbon particles. In good health, the lungs are elastic, yet when diseases such as emphysema set in, they lose their elasticity. I strongly urge you to go to the internet and print off a coloured picture of damaged blackened lungs created by smoking, and put it in a prominent position where you will continually see it. (Your PC and/or telephone screen, fridge door etc.)
Go to: www.presmark.com and click on “vivid lung pictures” from the side menu, or search another relevant website by going to a search engine and typing in “pictures of blackened lungs caused from smoking”.
The three main categories of lung disease are:
-obstructive lung disease
-restrictive lung disease
All kinds of other damage include: chronic air flow blockages, chronic mucous secretion, and susceptibility to bacterial infection. Smokers also suffer from more respiratory infections, throat inflammations and chronic bronchitis.
LUNG CANCER – THE END OF THE ROAD
“The risk of dying from lung cancer is more than 22 times higher among men who smoke cigarettes and about 12 times higher among women who smoke cigarettes compared with never smokers”
Ref: Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Control. American Public Health Association. 1998; 117-148 quoted by The National Cancer Institute
Cancer normally comes about after we are born – the 24/7 exposure to chemicals (such as those form cigarettes) and radiation in today’s world produces DNA mutations. From time to time an individual cell may produce an irregularity in the DNA sequence of a significant gene with catastrophic results.
Cancer is the build-up of a number of mutations in major genes within a cell. It encompasses many different diseases with various molecular abnormalities, and is the primary disease of the human genome. The genetic modifications that come about in the genome of a cancer cell create “disrupted molecular mechanisms”.
ONCOGENES (mutated forms of proto-oncogenes): these usually promote cell growth/division. If they are mutated they can boost cell growth.
TUMOUR-SUPRESSOR GENES: these oppose oncogenes by blocking cell growth/division. If they have mutated they are unable to hold back cell growth/division.
GENES WHICH REPAIR DNA ERRORS: have the ability to stop additional damage to oncogenes and tumour-supressor genes. If they are mutated they do not succeed in repairing the damage.
All forms of cancer begin with an alteration to an individual normal cell which produces an unlimited cell division as well as loss of differentiation. - This means that they lose their definition, and are not able to perform their specific and normal functions – in this state they are more primitive, and are reliant on glucose as opposed to oxygen for their metabolism.
When the body’s cells are in a healthy state they divide to form new cells when they are needed. (This normal healthy cell duplication is always limited). When healthy cells become old or damaged they die off and are replaced by new ones. The trouble begins when this process does not function normally. - New unwanted cells are formed, and old and damaged ones do not die due to the faulty cell “death genes” of the cancer cells. This cumulative effect results in an abnormal build-up of extra cells forming tissue. - This tissue often forms a tumour, and with further mutations it becomes cancerous. A tumour is either classed as benign or malignant. – A “benign” tumour is non-cancerous, and a “malignant” tumour is cancerous. A malignant tumour always has the potential to spread and get bigger. Normally, more than one cancer-producing factor has to accumulate before a malignant growth is generated.
DEVELOPMENT AND PROGRESSION
Whilst the development of cancer is highly complex and not yet fully understood, the common presumption is that mutations in the genes’ DNA sequence alter the DNA sequence of the cells which can create the activation of cancer-promoting genes (oncogens) or deactivate the cancer protecting genes. If several mutations occur in different genes a cell may then transform from a healthy one to a cancerous one. As the process multiplies, the mutations escalate and it is at this time that changes become IRREVERSIBLE and cancerous cells form.
It is important to understand that cancer is the effect of a small number of independent mutations within the cell which have taken place over a lengthy time period, and that it could be many years between one mutation and another. – And during this long period of years of normal living and planning your future, you are completely unaware of what is going on within you.
Cells often undergo changes making them abnormal but not yet cancerous – this stage is referred to as “pre-malignant”. These pre-malignant cells eventually go on to form a malignant tumour. THIS IS ONE OF THE REASONS WHY IT IS ABSOLUTELY VITAL TO HAVE REGULAR CHECK-UPS AND PRECANCEROUS TESTS WHETHER YOU ARE A SMOKER OR FORMER SMOKER, EVEN IF YOU HAVE SUCCESSFULLY STOPPED FOR MANY YEARS.
LC Detect SM is an American company which provides diagnostic information about lung cancer by measuring the level of HAAH in a person’s serum after a simple blood test. (HAAH is an enzyme which acts as a biomarker of cancer). Individuals who have both early and late stages of lung cancer have higher serum HAAH levels than individuals who do not have lung cancer. If the test results show an elevated level, the physician would then carry out further assessments to determine if lung cancer is present. This diagnostic test from Panacea Pharmaceuticals (www.panacea-labs.com) was named as one of TimeR Magazine’s ten biggest medical breakthroughs in 2007.
Lung cancer is a malignant tumour which originated in one or both lungs and which can ultimately migrate to other regions of the body such as the liver (the commonest site of the secondary spread of cancer cells), the bones, brain, and lung and adrenal glands. This is done via the lymphatic system. It often migrates to the lymph glands which enlarges them (they will also feel hard). The commonest location is the inside of the neck or just above the collarbone. (A key feature of cancer cells, as opposed to most normal cells, is their ability to break free from the tissue of which they are a part of).
When the spread of cancer cells away from the tumour (metastasis) includes the penetration of blood vessels, then the cancer cells are free to circulate throughout the body, and as a consequence leave the blood vessels to establish secondary tumours in other locations. Critically, these tumours have a high metabolic activity, and automatically stimulate a growth of blood vessels in the area. – This rapidly accelerates their growth through the added supply of oxygen and nutrients.
The majority of lung cancers begin in the cells lining the bronchi (carcinoma of the bronchus). Lung cancer accounts for the highest number of cancer deaths worldwide in both men and women. It is the most common form of cancer, and each year well over a million people die from it. The majority of lung cancer sufferers have been made victims through smoking tobacco or being a passive smoker, in fact it is estimated that 80-90% of all lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking.
Men and women are both susceptible to lung cancer, and recent research indicates that women are more prone to developing it. The risk of contracting it increases with age in both men and women. The forecast for those diagnosed with lung cancer is tragic. – At the time of writing, the British Lung Foundation states that only 20% of people are still alive 1 year after diagnosis, and only 6.3% of men, and 7.5% of women have a 5 year survival rate.
According to the National Cancer Institute in the
cigarette smoking is responsible for nearly one-third of all cancer deaths every year, with smoking being the most universal risk factor in the development of lung cancer. Some non-smokers do acquire lung cancer, which is thought to be strongly rooted in genetics. US
Survival rates are also not at all good in the
- only around 14% of patients survive for 5 years. (Whilst the percentages of survival rates in all countries fluctuate, the numbers are still critically low). US
In lung cancer (carcinoma) there are 2 main categories: “small cell lung cancer” which covers approximately 20% of cases, and “non-small cell lung cancer” which covers approximately 80% of cases.
SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER
This is categorised in one form.
NON SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER
This is categorised into 3 different forms:
Large cell carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma
SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER INFORMATION
This from of lung cancer is highly aggressive. Virtually all small cell cancers are caused by smoking and affect around
1 in 5 lung cancer cases.
The cells in this form of tumour are small and fragile. They nearly always develop in smokers, generally in the central part of the lung, where they spread to the lymph glands and bloodstream in the early stages of cancer development. The rate of growth of these tumours is greater than other main forms of lung cancer, and usually tragically fatal as the tumour cells often migrate to far off regions of the body by the time a correct medical identification is given. Also, some tumours are extremely difficult to treat with radiation because of their immediacy to vital organs, the varied forms of tissue in the area, and their irregular degrees of susceptibility to radiation.
NON-SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER LARGE CELL CARCINOMA
The cells in this tumour are somewhat larger than the other types. They do not form recognisable structures, and they do not produce the protein keratin. These tumours are usually found in smokers and may develop in the central or peripheral (outer) part of the lungs. They spread within the airways to the lymph gland via the bloodstream.
NON-SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER ADENOCARCINOMA
Adenocarcinoma is common in women and is frequently connected with smokers, although it is also associated with the largest number of non-smokers. It is slow-growing, and is often challenging to identify. – This is because it characteristically involves the edge of the lung, and early symptoms are far fewer than those of other types of cancer which develop centrally, near the airways. It can sometimes migrate to the lymph glands or to other regions of the body at an early stage. Regretfully, lung adenocarcinoma has often spread by the time any observable symptoms develop.
NON-SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA
This is the most common type of lung cancer where the tumour cells produce keratin which can be seen in the tumour. It is normally due to smoking and occurs far more frequently in smokers than non-smokers. It progresses more slowly than other forms of lung cancer and begins to spread at a later stage. It develops in the cells which line the major airways (the bronchi), and spreads by invading the local tissues. From here it makes its way into the lymph nodes and into the bloodstream.
Approximately 75% of cancers could well be due to individual lifestyle choice. Just as with other diseases, the risk of lung cancer and cancer in general, may be escalated not just by genetic traits, but by biological functioning, chemical toxins, unhealthy food, medication, food quality, type of beverages including water consumption, nutritional balance and deficiencies, and psychological well-being.
According to scientific researchers, there is a cancer-causing mutation in the “k-ras”gene. Sadly, individuals with this form of gene mutation are more likely to lose their lives than other lung cancer sufferers. Researchers conducting trials at
and the Harvard University discovered the mutation in 10% of lung cancer cases. They also found that it was three times more common in female smokers compared to male smokers. (This gender difference may be due to the effects of oestrogen which may increase tumour growth). University of California
A report published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute indicates that it is probable that carcinogenic substances from tobacco cause virtually all k-ras mutations. There is not yet sufficient data to link reduced risk after cessation. Further research on all aspects is required, as is a screening program.
ZOOMING IN ON CANCER GENES
DNA (the depository of our genetic information and cell instruction guide), consists of two complementary strands coiled around each other in a double helix which represents a twisted rope ladder. The human genome has approximately 20,000 genes in operation at any one time, although it houses considerably more. The whole genetic process is subject to countless individual variations, and minute spelling mistakes within our DNA, can have profound and devastating consequences.
"Now, a new study of over twelve hundred people has identified three hundred and twenty genes that are affected by smoking"
Ref: Drs David Niesel and Norbert Herzog, (University of Texas Medical Branch), Medical Discovery News, "Smoking Your Genes" [online] http://www.medicaldiscoverynews.com/shows/227_smokingGenes.html (Accessed November 11th 2011)
Our genetic instructions are finely balanced, and extremely sensitive to any changes and fluctuations within the cell. Some of our genes are "switched on", and others are "switched off". Environmental events (for example smoking or stress), may influence which of our genes are switched on and off. When our genes are switched on they are being expressed, and conversely, when they are switched off they are not being expressed - hence the term genetic expression. I strongly urge you to read the reference article by Drs Niesel and Herzog at the aforementioned link.
According to the department of epidemiology at the American Cancer Society, when predicting cancer risk, the length of time a person has smoked is more significant than the number of cigarettes smoked. According to Cancer Research
, a smoker who has smoked 20 cigarettes a day for 40 years has a lung cancer risk approximately 8 times higher than a smoker who has smoked UK 40 a day for 20 years.
The risk of lung cancer and other cancers and disease could, along with other factors, rise according to:
1. The age you first started smoking.
2. The length of time you have smoked.
3. The number of cigarettes you have smoked in the past, and now smoke each day.
4. How deeply you inhale.
5. If the cigarettes have filter-tips (and if you have always smoked filter tips).
6. The number of puffs you get out of each cigarette.
7. How long you actually keep the cigarette in your mouth.
8. Exposure to second hand smoke throughout your lifetime.
Individuals who have suffered lung cancer in the past are more susceptible to developing it again, and are extremely unwise to smoke, even just socially. The siblings and children of lung cancer sufferers may also have a slightly higher risk of developing lung cancer, particularly if they smoke.
The horrendous fact is that countless cancer victims are not diagnosed until their cancer is severely advanced. This is because the preliminary symptoms appear as familiar everyday minor ailments. And as with many other diseases and conditions, there are many common symptoms.
Symptoms to watch out for include: hoarseness, coughing, a worsening cough, coughing up blood in the phlegm, shortness of breath, constant chest or upper back pain, mucous production, a blockage in the airways, difficulty swallowing, reduced appetite, weight loss, weakness, a swollen face, abnormalities appearing on the nails, an abnormally raised temperature, discomfort in the chest region, and repeated attacks of pneumonia or bronchitis. (From all of the aforementioned, a cough is the commonest symptom). IF YOU EXPERIENCE ANY ONE OF THESE SYMPTOMS SEE YOUR MEDICAL PHYSICIAN IMMEDIATELY.
Individuals with lung cancer may not always show lung cancer symptoms. - They may produce symptoms which have been initiated by the spread of cancer cells. It is absolutely essential to understand that a tumour may not be evident until it is mature. – This is why the name “silent disease” is given to this savagely cruel fate. Lung cancer really is the end of the road, and that is why you have to get a grip on changing your lifestyle before it is all too late.
Various factors determine prognosis. These include:
The form of lung cancer
The stage of development
The age of the individual
Any other illnesses or conditions
The medical consultant will take breath and pulmonary function tests and determine if there is any fluid on the lungs, look for swollen lymph nodes, an enlarged liver, or masses in the abdomen. He/she can also arrange an X-ray, CAT, MRI, ultrasound or PET scan. Some forms of testing carry risks although these are often outweighed by the benefits.
An X-Ray examination utilises electromagnet radiation which can make images of the bones and organs.
A CAT (CT) (computerized axial tomography) scan is a type of X-ray imaging which shows three dimensional pictures of internal organs.
An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan uses magnetic and radio waves. (This does not subject the individual to the effects of X-ray radiation, although there may be other risk factors). An MRI scan can make pictures of practically all the tissues within the body from most angles.
A PET (position emission tomography) can show how the body’s tissues are working. It can help to show the stage of the cancer, if the cancer has migrated to another part of the body, and whether a lump is cancerous or not. It can also confirm how effective chemotherapy is, and can help to determine the best form of treatment.
Having a PET scan involves being injected with a very small amount of a radioactive drug known as a tracer. (The radioactivity is no higher than that of a standard X-ray, and only stays in the body for a few hours). The drug is a radioactive form of glucose which travels to regions in the body where glucose is utilised for energy. It is able to highlight the cancer because the glucose in cancerous areas of the body tissue is utilised in a different way to normal.
An ultrasound scan employs sound waves to create an image of the internal organs. It is able to monitor and diagnose conditions in various regions of the body.
The main procedure used to identify lung cancer is the use of an auto florescence bronchoscope. - This involves inserting a narrow tube down the airways (under anaesthesia), and allows the physician to highlight any abnormal areas which could be in the path of becoming cancerous. A biopsy (tissue sample), will be taken if necessary.
The use of genomic tools which have the ability to investigate different molecular abnormalities, and treatments specifically tailored to an individual’s genotype are the way forward and urgently needed. For example, exploratory testing using DNA chips (also known as gene chips) that can check tens of thousands of genes at a time, is now in limited operation. When the DNA of a tumour is tested in this way, it enables the examiner to determine which genes are “turned on” and “turned off” in comparison to normal tissue. The “active” “turned on” genes which do show up can bring on radically different clinical outcomes for each individual.
If you should find yourself in the position of needing any exploratory tests, I strongly advise you to do all you can to go as a private patient and have immediate attention.
Cyber knife surgery is now the most advanced form of radio-surgery that destroys the tumour with the minimum exposure of radiation to the normal tissue surrounding it. Yet sadly, even this advance in treatment cannot stop cancerous cells spreading to other regions of the body.
At the present time, surgical removal of lung cancer, (if possible), offers the best chance of survival. Depending on the characteristics of the tumour as well as other factors, surgery may be carried out in order to:
Extract a small portion of the diseased lung tissue
Extract the entire lung or
Extract the whole organ.
After surgery, chemotherapy (drug treatment which is usually given intravenously; and radiation are usually utilized. Chemotherapy is normally used in the case of small cell lung cancers - this is because they normally spread too rapidly for the surgery to be effective. Radiotherapy is frequently used as well. One of the problems with this form of treatment is that if the cancer cells do not react to the damaged DNA which has been deliberately administered by medical therapeutic agents, then the treatment will be futile. A relatively new form of cancer drugs – “Growth Factor Inhibitors” are now in use.
Targeted cancer therapies involve the use of drugs (or other substances), that are able to halt the growth and proliferation of cancer. These therapies that are used in specific cancers include drugs which: interfere with both cell growth signalling and tumor blood vessel development; and encourage cancer cell death. They prompt the immune system to destroy targeted cancer cells, and send them toxic drugs.