Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in Germany. In men, it is the second most common cancer in women, third grade lung tumors in statistics. t-online.de interviewed a pulmonary specialist from the Pulmonologists Association, what are lung cancer warning signs and how to reduce the risk.
Dr. Michael Barczok is an expert on lung Ulm and a speaker of the pulmonary association.
Dr. Barczok, the immigrant and popular pop singer Jens Büchner has surprisingly died from lung cancer to the public. How could he sing onstage a few weeks ago?
Dr. Michael Barczok: He had suffered from lung cancer for a long time and eventually knew it. But the ability of the lungs is initially not necessarily interfered with by growth. You can sing with it. Although a foreign body grows in lung cancer, the surrounding tissue is still functional.
How is a lung cancer film?
Unfortunately, the disease does not declare itself so clearly. First, it takes a long time for the tumor to become so abundant in the lungs that it really causes discomfort, and when it does, it causes a cough. And of course it's a symptom that many do not really take seriously, especially when they smoke. In addition, lung cancer causes lining, depending on where it sits, respiratory distress. And what comes next is that the body rotted, because you lose weight, because facial features are changing. It becomes physically visible that something does not work anymore.
Is the cough similar to the cough that you know cold infections or know the smoker anyway, because it always occurs?
Lung cancer is triggered by smoking in almost all people. Pollutants interfere with the disposal of lung waste. If you smoke a cigarette, garbage collection stops for about eight hours. We have cilia in bronchi that bring mucus and dirt and everything we breathe like that. It works like a conveyor belt. The lungs must ensure that the dirt is removed continuously from the lungs. And it makes you cough.
That is, the body's own cleaning mechanisms of the lungs are flooded by smokers?
exactly. It no longer works properly for smokers because they turn off garbage collection with each cigarette for eight hours. That's why many smokers cough in the morning. The last cigarette was left behind enough for the rescue to recover. Then they often cough the mucus. By smoking, cilia are first paralyzed and destroyed over time. The dirt would eventually lie down. Especially in the morning, smokers know about coughing for many years, and then they do not take it any more seriously. The symptoms of lung cancer are very similar to the smoker's usual cough.
Unnamed: When should you go to the doctor anyway?
If someone who does not have a cough suddenly suddenly gets someone who has not disappeared or gets worse, that's a good reason to go to the doctor anyway. My smoking friends are an important target group for me as a general practitioner. When they tell their family members who smoke, "You always cough." Do not reject them with answers such as "Yes, I also smoke." Instead, they should try to convince them to get their x-rays to see if there is anything there.
How Long Can Lung Cancer Show?
It can take years between the appearance of a single lung cancer cell and the first appearance, for example in X-rays or first symptoms. Lung cancer does not develop within a few weeks. First, there are cancer cells that have to multiply, then two cells live for several weeks, then they are twice again and so on. That is, the lung cancer we see today may have originated many months or even years ago and it grows slowly. The time between the onset of consciousness and the disease can be years.
Are there indirect signs of lung cancer?
Unfortunately not. At least not with lung cancer. But smoking lung cancer is often associated with what is called COPD, known as the popular lung of a smoker. This can be understood in measuring lung function. An increase of two or three inches in health does not cause problems. Lung function is not limited. Therefore lung cancer can not be identified by lung function measurements. You can only see the tumor on the X-ray. This is the only method of testing that predicts cancer growth.
At what stage does the lung cancer usually appear in practice?
If the symptoms of lung cancer are a reason to go to the doctor, then it is usually already in a much advanced stage. However, sometimes patients come from persistent cough or pneumonia or because they have a permanent check or that they already have COPD and therefore have X-rays. Lung cancer is sometimes discovered by chance, even before it causes symptoms. These patients were lucky then. But if the tumor itself is the reason for a doctor's visit, then it is usually too late.
What, then, is the prognosis of such a patient?
What does it look like in numbers?
There are different types of lung tumors. Therefore it is very important to clarify what kind is. There are tumors that grow very quickly and quickly metastasize to other organs, brain or bone. So you can try to slow tumor growth by means such as chemotherapy or radiation, but you can not cure the tumor. There are bronchial carcinomas which, if they have not yet exceeded a certain size, can be surgically removed. The vast majority of lung cancer patients, 90 to 95 percent, die within five years of diagnosis.
Does a smoker's lung recover when it stops, or is it a myth?
There are certain things that improve by stopping. For example, the supply of oxygen in the blood, carbon monoxide, which is inhaled when smoking, can no longer burden the body. The risk of heart attack decreases again, especially if you are also doing sports. Cancer risk does not actually decrease. Anyone who stops smoking and does not have lung cancer five years later can hope that he will not get anything because of previous smoking. Because the cells that could have been created by smoking, must have become so great that you can see them.
And what happened to the lung tissue?
Damage to the organ by the smoke, which can lead to the lung of the smoker (COPD), does not decrease by stopping the smoke. When cells die, alveoli are broken. These damages remain. Unfortunately, people who quit smoking too late will enjoy little in terms of quality of life and longevity. Therefore, smoking should be presumed so early, as long as there is no irreversible damage. After the lung function is damaged by smoking, it does not recover. It just does not get as fast as it would if you did not smoke.
What can be done in a preventive manner, except to stop smoking?
Little. We do not have good radiation for lung cancer. It is not simply x rays out of suspicion that x-rays themselves are harmful. We can say that if you do not smoke, you have a very low risk of getting lung cancer. And if you smoke, you have a very high.
to stop smoking
Anyone who wants to quit smoking is supported by various institutions. That's what the Federal Association of Pulmonologists suggests Non smoking program On. The Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) has also Exit program for smokers, Your health insurance company usually also finances a rehab course.
What is the risk of passive smokers?
With passive smoking you get less dirt, but there are still enough pollutants in the air. Passive smokers therefore have a 30 percent higher risk of developing lung cancer than non-smokers.
What is the risk of lung cancer among smokers from time to time and "right" smokers?
Unfortunately, there is no safety threshold. For example, there are no studies that say that under five cigarettes, the risk of lung cancer is zero. However, in any case, in any case, the longer the poison causes the lungs, the greater the risk of disease. This will make a difference if you smoke a few cigarettes or two boxes a day. We know from the COPD that as a woman you are on a box every day for a period of 20 years for men one box a day over a period of 30 years. You get a lung from a smoker. If you smoke three boxes a day, it will not take 20 but only six years to get the COPD chronic lung disease. Whether it applies to lung cancer, we do not know exactly. You can only say one thing: as long as one smokes in a way that does not completely disable the lung collection of lungs for days and normal disposal mechanisms still work, the risk of lung cancer is probably manageable.
Thank you very much for the interview.