Cancerous cells keep reproducing until there are a bunch of cells packed together, forming a tumor. A lung cancer tumor can range from grape-sized to apple-sized.
Lung cancer cells like to travel. They separate from the original tumor and move to other parts of the body. They continue to grow wherever they end up.
Like other cancers, lung cancer spreads in this way to other parts of the body.
Every person’s cancer acts differently from everybody else’s. This is especially true with lung cancer. That is partly why it is so hard to treat.
Lung cancer can be hard to detect. Doctors may discover lung cancer only because the cancer has spread. They find the cancer in the new place before they find it in the lungs where it started.Finding and treating
There is no easy way to test for lung cancer. One way to diagnose lung cancer is to puncture the lungs to take a sample, or biopsy (BI-ops-ee). Imagine what happens when you puncture a balloon. Lungs are similar to balloons.
The best way to detect, or discover, lung cancer is to take pictures with machines, such as CT scans. But even these detailed pictures can be hard to read. There are often growths in the lungs that are not cancerous. Pictures don’t show which growths are actually cancer.
A person at high risk for lung cancer, such as someone who has smoked for years, should see a doctor about getting special tests. When lung cancer is detected early, doctors and patients have a lot of success in getting rid of it for good.
A 13-year-old girl prepares to rappel, or descend with a rope, from an 11-story building in Washington, D.C., in September. This is the first year for LUNGevity’s Breathe Deep and Jump DC event, to raise awareness and funding for lung cancer research. In other LUNGevity events, kids have set up hot chocolate and lemonade stands to raise funds. One girl in Maine ran 100 miles to raise money after her grandmother died of lung cancer.