The lungs are sponge-like, elastic organs which absorb the oxygen we breathe in (inspiration) from the air, and allows the carbon dioxide waste produced by our bodies to be eliminated as we breathe out (expiration).
The human body has a left and right lung, found in the chest cavity. The trachea ("windpipe") directs the air we breathe from our mouth and nose into the lungs. The trachea separates into a right and left pathway (bronchus), and then into progressively smaller paths to distribute the air to all areas of the left and right lungs. Each lung is formed by a series of lobes containing alveoli - small sac-like structures that provide a place for blood to come in close contact with the oxygen we breathe in. "Gas exchange" occurs at the alveoli, with oxygen passing into our bloodstream and carbon dioxide passing out to be expelled from the mouth and nose during expiration.
Lung cancer is the term used to describe the presence of a malignant tumour growth in the lung. The tumour may be found in the bronchus tubes, or in the spongy lung tissue. Tumours in the lung may also be due to cancer which has spread through the blood from another part of the body e.g. the breast or the bowel.
Like other cancers, lung cancer is the result of the uncontrolled growth and multiplication of cells at the site. Over time, this abnormal cell growth develops into a progressively larger mass which starts to invade functional parts of the lung, affecting breathing, causing pain and symptoms related to the loss of normal function.
Last Updated (Friday, 17 September 2010 10:30)