Lung cancer: occurrence and new possibilities for detection
Lung cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide. Physical and chemical agents such as tobacco smoke are the leading cause of various lung cancers. The intrinsic heterogeneity of normal lung tissue may be affected in different ways, giving rise to different types of lung cancers classified as either small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) or non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Adenocarcinoma, a NSCLC, accounts for 40 percent of all lung cancer cases and the incidence is increasing worldwide, especially among women. The survival rate and prognosis is poorest for adenocarcinoma. Therefore, diagnosis at the earliest stage (Stage I, localized) is critical for increasing survival rates of those suffering from lung cancer. However, many factors affect early diagnosis including the variable natural growth of tumors plus technological and human factors associated with manipulation of tissue samples and interpretation of results. This article reviews potential problems associated with diagnosing lung cancer and considers future directions of diagnostic technology.