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Pathology the Respiratory System: Lung Cancer


Lung cancer is one of the carcinoma disorders that are caused by abnormal development of the lung tissue. Lung cancer normally affects the epithelial cells of the lungs, and it spreads through the process of metastasis. Lung cancer is among the leading causes of death through respiratory illnesses and it has posed a major challenge to the global healthcare system. The illness has various causes, including smoking and exposure to harmful chemicals through air pollution. The disease can spread unnoticed for some time, but it is normally manifested through chest pains, coughing blood, and running out of breath while resting (Lung Cancer, 2014). Victims of lung cancer may portray different complications in their respiratory systems. It is important for the victims to visit qualified physicians for diagnosis and the development of individual-focused treatment plans.

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List of terms

  • Lung cancer- a type of cancer that specifically affects the lungs.
  • Carcinoma- type of cancer that develops from the epithelial cells.
  • Epithelial cells- tissues lining cavities in the body.
  • Metastasis- process that cancer spreads from one part of the body to another.
  • Diagnosis- identifying a disease.
  • Malignant cells- abnormal cells in the body.

Effects of lung cancer on the respiratory system

The effects of lung cancer on the respiratory system are functions of the severity of the disease. If a large part of the lungs is affected, breathing becomes a problem for the victim because a large surface area is covered with the tumor. This tumor blocks oxygen intake through the lungs; hence, the victim keeps running out of breath. In some cases, breathing and coughing becomes very painful for the victims, and they may have blood in their sputum. The disease also causes uncontrollable coughing in the victims, especially when it has spread all over the lungs. The victims experience wheezing as they breathe, and they keep trying to cough out the mucus blocking the respiratory system (Lung Cancer, 2014).


Treating lung cancer is a big challenge for doctors. The current methods of treatment include chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. Patients are taken through one or a combination of the three treatments, depending on the severity of the diseases and their reaction to either of the treatment methods. Chemotherapy is one of the common methods used on patients with lung cancer in the early stages of the disease. This method uses several anti-cancer chemicals, which help in suppressing the growth of the tumors (Pao & Girard, 2011). The chemicals may also help in reducing the size of the tumor, as well as its elimination altogether. Surgery is also a treatment option for lung cancer in different stages of the disease. Surgery becomes an option when the physicians believe that the tumor can be safely eliminated through surgery. This method is normally incorporated with chemotherapy. Surgery is a very effective method of treatment, but it is complicated and risky for the patients.

Radiation is a treatment method used when surgery cannot be applied. With radiation, the patient is subjected to ionized radiation. The physician focuses the radiation on the malignant cells to kill off the cells forming a tumor. This process has to be repeatedly performed until the tumor is killed or controlled (Radiation therapy for non-small cell lung cancer, 2014). Radiology has adverse side effects; hence, it is only conducted severally over a long period to prevent damage to healthy body cells around the lungs. Radiation is normally incorporated with chemotherapy for better and faster results in treating lung cancer.


Lung Cancer. (2014). Web.

Pao, W., & Girard, N. (2011). New driver mutations in non-small-cell lung cancer. The lancet oncology, 12(2), 175-180.

Radiation therapy for non-small cell lung cancer. (2014). Web.

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