Smokers' Lung - Lung Cancer Concerns

If you, a friend, or relative smokes, please share your experience with or concerns about lung cancer.

Share your story with others:

MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.Patient Comments FAQs

Enter your Comment

Tell us a bit about your background to make your comments more useful to other MedicineNet users. (Optional)

Screen Name: *

Gender of Patient: Male Female

Age Range of Patient:

I am a: Patient Caregiver


* Screen Name will appear next to the published comment. Please do not include your full name or email address.

By submitting your comment, and other materials (collectively referred to as a "Submission") to MedicineNet, you grant MedicineNet permission to use, copy, transmit, publish, display, edit and modify your Submission in connection with its Web site. MedicineNet will not pay you for your Submission. You represent that you have all rights necessary for MedicineNet to use your Submission as set forth above.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when writing your comment:

  • Please make sure you address the question asked.
  • Due to the overwhelming number of comments received, not all comments will be published.
  • When selecting comments to publish, our staff will choose those that are educational and complement the topic. Please try to stay on topic.
  • Your comment may be edited. We would typically edit comments to make them clearer and more readable. We will remove personal information such as last names, email and web addresses, and other potentially harmful information.
  • We will not notify you if your comment has been published. We suggest that you check back on the topic article regularly.
  • We do not provide medical or healthcare advice, treatment, or diagnosis.

Thank you for participating!


I have read and agree to abide by the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and the MedicineNet Privacy Policy (required).

To prevent our systems from spam, please complete the following prior to submitting your comment.

Please select the white triangle:

What about lung cancer in smokers?

Smoke contains more than 60 carcinogens (chemicals that cause cancer) and about 200 known toxic substances. Scientists are still learning about how carcinogens work and why only some people who smoke get lung cancer. Genes are the hereditary units in chromosomes and appear to have a lot to do with a person's susceptibility to cancer. The genes are made up of DNA (deoxyribose nucleic acid), which controls how cells divide and reproduce (proliferate). Damage to DNA from cigarette smoke can lead to uncontrolled cell proliferation and growth, which is what cancer is finally all about.

It is of interest that some smokers develop COPD, some develop lung cancer, some get neither, and some get both. We really don't know the reason for these different susceptibilities. Besides that, lung cancer from smoking can take a number of different forms. For example, the cancer cells can resemble cells of the skin (squamous cell carcinoma), cells of the bronchial glands (adenocarcinoma), or specialized cells of the nervous system (neuroendocrine carcinoma). Figure 8 shows an adenocarcinoma in a smoker's lung with severe emphysema.

Picture of smoker's lung with emphysema and lung cancer
Picture of smoker's lung with emphysema and lung cancer

What do you think the outcome (prognosis) is for this patient with lung cancer? Well, almost all types of lung cancer are particularly deadly. Thus, if a lung cancer is more than an inch or so in diameter (as in this patient) or has spread outside of the lung, fewer than 50% of affected individuals will survive another 5 years. And that is even with the best of therapy. What's more, consider a cancer that is less than an inch in size (or not large enough to be seen on a chest X-ray) and is confined to the lung. Unfortunately, even if such a cancer is completely removed by surgery, about 25% of individuals will still die from the cancer in less than 5 years from the time of diagnosis. The reason for this poor outcome (prognosis) is that lung cancers tend to spread (metastasize) early in the course of disease to other organs, most often the brain, liver, and bone.

Return to Smoker's Lung: Pathology Photo Essay

STAY INFORMED

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!