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Category Archives: Lung Cancer

Bronchial Carcinoma (lung Cancer)

October 18, 2009


This is the most common tumour in the West and is the 3rd most common death in the UK after heart disease and pneumonia. Mortality rates world-wide are highest in Scotland, closely followed by England and Wales. 32,000 patients per year die from bronchial carcinoma, with a male to female ratio of 3-1.




The evidence of the association between cigarette smoking and bronchial carcinoma overshadows any other factors. However – there is a higher incidence of bronchial carcinoma in urban communities compared with rural, even when consideration of smoking is taken into account. Passive smoking (inhaling other people’s smoke) increases the risk of bronchial carcinoma by a factor of 1.5. Occupational factors include exposure to asbestos, and an association is almost claimed for workers in contact with arsenic, chromium, iron oxide, petroleum products and oils, coal tar, products of coal combustion, and radiation.


Cell Types

Bronchial carcinoma is divided into ‘small-cell’ and ‘non-small cell’ carcinoma.


Non-small-cell carcinoma


Squamous or epidermoid carcinoma is the most common carcinoma within this group accounting for approximately 40% of all carcinomas. Metastases (spreading) is relatively late, but local spread is common.


Small-cell carcinoma


This tumour is sometimes referred to as oat-cell carcinoma, and accounts for 20-30% of all lung cancers. It arises from endocrine cells. Small-cell carcinoma is a systemic disease (is one that affects a number of organs and tissues, or the whole body). Although the tumour grows at a rapid rate and is highly malignant – it is the only one that tends to respond well to chemotherapy treatment.


Symptoms of bronchial carcinoma (lung cancer)

The common features of lung cancer are chest pain and discomfort. This is often described by patients as ‘fullness’ and ‘pressure’ in the chest. Often there are no physical features present but enlarged lymph nodes may be found with small-cell carcinoma.


References – ‘Clinical Medicine’  Kiumar & Clark.