Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer: Overview

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for men and women in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society.  About 164,100 new cases of the disease were expected to be diagnosed in 1997 and 156,900 people were expected to die from the cancer.  Smoking avoidance is the most important behavior to reduce lung cancer risk.  Researchers estimate that fruit and vegetable consumption may lower risk at best two-fold, while smoking cessation causes a 20-fold decrease in risk.

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Treatment and Prevention

Apart from smoking cessation, further reduction of risk may be achieved by weight loss (when appropriate), a healthier diet (fruits and cabbage family vegetables), and supplements such as selenium and vitamins C and E.  Vitamins C and E work synergistically and a moderate dose of both taken in combination may provide more of a protective effect against lung cancer than either taken separately.  [American Journal of Epidemiology, 1997;146(3): pp.231-43]

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Lung Cancer:

Symptoms - Nails

Conditions that suggest Lung Cancer:

Symptoms - Cancer

Risk factors for Lung Cancer:

Addictions

Cigarette Smoke Damage

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women.  Some 90% of lung cancer in men and 79% of lung cancer in women is directly attributed to smoking.  In fact, smoking increases the chance of developing lung cancer 22-fold for males and 12-fold for females.  The relative risk of developing lung cancer is directly proportional to the amount and duration of smoking.  The 250% increase in the occurrence of lung cancer between 1960 and 2000 followed the rise in cigarette smoking 20 years earlier.

Smoking causes lung cancer of all the principal histologic types: squamous cell, large cell, small cell and adenocarcinoma.  Small cell cancer is the most aggressive type of lung cancer and has the worst prognosis.  This kind of cancer tends to grow rapidly spread to other parts of the body early.  Large cell cancer spreads to lymph nodes of the chest and it enters the blood stream where it gets carried to other organs such as the liver, bone, brain, and spinal cord.  Among men there is an increased proportion of squamous cell carcinoma, while in women there is an increased proportion of adenocarcinoma.

Lab Values - Scans

Counter-indicators

Metabolic

Problems Caused By Being Overweight

Researchers used data from a study of lung cancer patients in New York from 1982 to 1985.  They focused on patients who had never smoked, or those who hadn't smoked in the last 10 years, then took into account physical data on patients' heights and weight.  Researchers found that study subjects who were at the most extreme levels of obesity had the highest risk of lung cancer.  The study is a first for linking being overweight to lung cancer; it has previously been shown to play a role in breast, uterine, and colon cancer.

Researchers are unsure why being obese plays a role in lung cancer; some researchers suggest it's related to hormones such as higher levels of estrogen and insulin.  In addition, being overweight puts an added strain on the lungs, reduces lung capacity, and increases asthma risk.  [American Journal of Epidemiology Sept.  2000]

Supplements and Medications

Counter-indicators

Symptoms - Cancer

Symptoms - Environment

Significant/severe diesel exhaust exposure

Human epidemiological studies demonstrate an association between diesel exhaust exposure and increased lung cancer rates in occupational settings.  A preliminary report, still undergoing review by experts, states that "For carcinogenic hazard and risk of cancer over a lifetime, the EPA is recommending that exposure (to diesel exhaust) be viewed as likely to pose a risk at low levels, as well as high levels."

The draft report, which can be accessed at the agency's website at www.epa.gov, is based on an overview analysis of dozens of animal- and human-based studies.  It explains that the particulate matter found in diesel fumes is very small in diameter and thus able to penetrate deeply into the lungs upon inhalation.  The report authors also note that "light-duty diesel engines emit 50-80 times and heavy-duty engines 100-200 times more particulate matter than catalytically equipped gasoline engines."

High air pollution exposure

Over many years, the danger of breathing soot-filled air in polluted cities is comparable to the health risks associated with long-term exposure to second-hand smoke, according to a new study funded by the NIH and US EPA.  The study assessed the impact of particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers, called fine particulate matter, in cities across the United States.  Data was gathered from 500,000 adults who were followed from 1982 to 1998 as part of an ongoing cancer study.  The study concluded that a 10mcg increase per cubic meter in fine particulate matter caused an 8% increase in the number of deaths from lung cancer.  [Environmental News Service March 6, 2002]

Symptoms - Food - Intake

Moderate/high omega-6 oil intake

Although smoking has been linked to lung cancer, the risk of developing it may be increased more by fatty acid consumption while smoking, rather than by the smoking itself.  Lung cancer was not so much of a problem for smokers until polyunsaturated oils such as corn, safflower and sunflower were added to the diet during the 1950s in the United States.  Even among smokers, a low fatty acid diet will reduce the likelihood of getting lung cancer.

Counter-indicators
No significant/low omega-6 oil intake

Although smoking has been linked to lung cancer, the risk of developing it may be increased more by fatty acid consumption while smoking, rather than by the smoking itself.  Lung cancer was not so much of a problem for smokers until polyunsaturated oils such as corn, safflower and sunflower were added to the diet during the 1950s in the United States.  Even among smokers, a low fatty acid diet will reduce the likelihood of getting lung cancer.

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Lung Cancer suggests the following may be present:

Tumors, Malignant

Recommendations for Lung Cancer:

Drug

Hydrazine Sulfate

See the link between Cancer (General) and Hydrazine Sulfate.

Nutrient

Preventive measures against Lung Cancer:

Diet

Cabbage Family Vegetables

Chemicals found in broccoli, cabbage, bok choy and other cruciferous (cabbage family) vegetables may protect against lung cancer, according to a new study conducted jointly with US and Chinese researchers.  Although the chemicals did lower cancer risk by 36% in this study, smoking alone increases lung cancer risk by as much as 10 times.

Drug

LDN - Low Dose Naltrexone

Although lung cancer tissue is low in opioid receptors and thus not so likely to respond to LDN, there may be benefit due to LDN's ability to increase natural killer cell function.

Environmental

Hormone

Mineral

Selenium

A double-blind study demonstrated that supplementation with 200 mcg/day of selenium (in the form of high-selenium brewer's yeast) reduced the incidence of prostate, colorectal and lung cancer, and reduced overall cancer mortality by 50%.  [JAMA 1996;276: pp.1957-1963]

Vitamins

Vitamin E

High levels of alpha-tocopherol (a form of vitamin E) in the blood appear to reduce the risk of developing lung cancer in smokers by about 20%.  The researchers attribute the decrease in cancer to vitamin E's antioxidant properties and anticancer properties.  The researchers report that the men most likely to experience a benefit from high serum levels of alpha-tocopherol included those younger than 60, men who had smoked for less than 40 years and men who took vitamin E supplements containing alpha-tocopherol during the study.  [Journal of the National Cancer Institute October 20,1999;91: pp.1738-1743]

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Weak or unproven link: may be a sign or symptom of; may increase risk of
Weak or unproven link:
may be a sign or symptom of; may increase risk of
Strong or generally accepted link: often increases risk of; often suggests
Strong or generally accepted link:
often increases risk of; often suggests
Definite or direct link: strongly suggests
Definite or direct link:
strongly suggests
Weakly counter-indicative: may decrease risk of
Weakly counter-indicative:
may decrease risk of
Strong counter-indication: often decreases risk of
Strong counter-indication:
often decreases risk of
May be useful: may help with; may help prevent
May be useful:
may help with; may help prevent
Moderately useful: often prevents
Moderately useful:
often prevents
Very useful: usually prevents
Very useful:
usually prevents