What is Bronchogenic Carcinoma?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 June 2019
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Bronchogenic carcinoma is another term for lung cancer, one of the most fatal types of cancer in adults. It is very common in smokers and people who are frequently exposed to secondhand smoke, though it can occasionally appear in lungs that have not been subjected to carcinogens. A person with bronchogenic carcinoma typically experiences a chronic cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, and headaches. Treatment for lung cancer usually involves a combination of chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and surgery. Individuals can greatly reduce their risk of developing cancer by quitting smoking and establishing healthy dietary and exercise routines.

There are many different kinds of bronchogenic carcinoma that can affect the lungs, including small cell, squamous cell, and adenocarcinoma types. Each type manifests and affects the body in a particular fashion. Small cell carcinoma appears as multiple groups of tiny cancerous bodies that spread quickly through the lungs. Squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and other non-small cell types result in large tumors that continue to grow as surrounding cells are affected.


Both small cell and non-small cell carcinomas can be caused by smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. The quantity of cigarettes smoked a day and the length of time a person has been smoking are reliable predictors of bronchogenic carcinoma. People who quit the habit can significantly reduce their chances, though several years or decades of smoking can still lead to eventual lung cancer. Individuals who live or work around other carcinogenic substances, such as air pollution and asbestos, are also at an increased risk. In rare cases, a genetic predisposition or unidentifiable environmental factors can lead to lung cancer.

In its early stages, a case of bronchogenic carcinoma may not present any physical symptoms. As the cancer spreads and affects larger areas of lung tissue, a person usually develops a chronic cough and chest pain. Shortness of breath, decreased lung capacity, fatigue, and persistent headaches are also associated with lung cancer. Carcinomas can spread to other vital organs and parts of the body without treatment, leading to a host of medical problems. Lung cancer does not subside on its own, and it is almost certainly fatal if an individual does not seek professional treatment.

Doctors typically diagnose bronchogenic carcinoma by conducting chest x-rays and analyzing saliva samples. A lung tissue biopsy may be needed to determine the type and progression of carcinoma. If a patient's cancer is in the early stages, surgery can be effective at cutting away cancerous tissue and removing small tumors. Doctors administer chemotherapy or radiation treatments in cases of widespread cancer. Late-stage bronchogenic carcinoma that spreads to other parts of the body is very difficult to treat, and unfortunately leads to death in most patients.



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