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  • Subject area(s): Science
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  • Published on: 15th October 2019
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Alex Wallack and Eric Siegel

Mrs. Winship

Biology

9 March 2015

Lung Cancer: Causes, Effects, Treatments, and Relation to Mitosis

Cancer, a disease that can result in extreme sickness, and many times, the loss of life, is essentially faulted mitosis. In mitosis, the cell has checkpoints in which it can make sure mitosis is functioning correctly. At these checkpoints, certain proteins can by made by genes such as p53 that can stop the cell cycle so that the cycle can be corrected when something goes wrong. In cancer cells, the checkpoints are overridden (“Cell Reproduction: Mitosis and Cancer” 7). Genes that create the regulatory proteins become mutated in cancer, no longer able to suppress the cell cycle when the cell cycle goes astray. This results in the cell dividing uncontrollably, creating masses of cancer cells known as tumors. There are two types of tumors: benign and malignant. Benign tumor cells remain at the same place, and can be removed through surgery. Benign tumors are easily to treat and cure a person of. Malignant tumors, however, can spread to different parts of the body in a process called metastasis (“Cell Reproduction: Mitosis and Cancer” 8).

Lung cancer is cancer that, surprisingly, affects the lungs. Lung cancer, in 2014, was the second most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer related death in both genders. This cancer is most commonly linked to smoking and has shown through time that as the use of cigarettes goes up, the rate of cancer goes up, and as the use of cigarettes goes down, the rate of cancer follows suit. While smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer, other factors can cause this disease as well. Exposure to unhealthy air qualities such as secondhand smoke, harmful toxins and chemicals in the air, and extreme air pollution can also cause this disease (National Cancer Institute 1). Overall, cancer has decreased among all men and women in recent years. However, the decline is steeper in men than in women, women’s rate of cancer slowing less than men’s (Houston, Henley, Li, White, White 1).

There are three main types of lung cancer. There is the most common type of lung cancer, adenocarcinoma. The other two common types are squamous cell carcinoma and large cell carcinoma (“Lung Cancer 101” 2). Lung cancer progress in stages. As the stages move on, the cancer gets increasingly more and more dangerous and lethal. The first stage is when the cancer cells are only in the lungs, and have not spread out of the lungs. Stage two is when the cancer has spread from the lungs to nearby lymph nodes. Symptoms for these two stages include coughing, chest pain, coughing up saliva and mucus of strange colors, shortness of breath, and hoarseness of voice (“Lung Cancer 101” 3). In stage three, the disease spread to lymph nodes in the center of the chest and the stage has two parts. The first part is when the disease only affects lymph nodes on one side of the lungs, when lymph nodes on both sides are affected, the second part of the stage occurs. Stage four is when the cancer has spread to the other lung and is a very dangerous and often lethal disease. The symptoms for these two stages are much more harsh and can include fatigue, pain in parts of the body not limited to where the cancer is, weakness, and bleeding (“Lung Cancer 101” 4).

As with all cancers, lung cancer can be extremely dangerous and extraordinarily hard to treat. While none can be guaranteed to cure a person of the disease, many treatments do exist to attempt to treat lung cancer. Treatments include surgery, in which the affected body parts are removed; radiation therapy, where high energy radiation is used to kill off affected cells; chemotherapy, where drugs are used to kill the cancer; targeted therapy, where drugs that kill specific types of cells are used to kill the cells affected by the cancer; laser therapy, where thin, powerful beams of light are used to kill the cells; photodynamic therapy, where drugs that become active with the addition of light; cryosurgery, where cold liquids or instruments are used to kill off the cells; endoscopic stent placement, where a small tube is inserted into the affected area; and finally, electrocautery which uses the heat from an electrical current to kill sets of tissue, such as tumors and lesions (National Cancer Institute 1).

In the news, three commonly eaten grain-filled foods have been discovered as increasing risk of lung cancer in their consumers. They are white bread, bagels, and rice. All three of the aforementioned foods are rich in carbohydrates, which have commonly been linked to obesity. The reason these foods, along with corn flakes, have been shown to cause the cancer is the high glycemic index of the food. A glycemic index shows how high blood pressure goes after eating a meal of that food. Luckily, foods with lower glycemic indexes, such as fruits and vegetables, lower the chance of the cancer that the foods with carbohydrates increase risk for.

The amount that the carbohydrate rich foods increase risk of lung cancer is 49%. The testing that found glycemic index as a factor was testing the difference in lifestyle and diet between newly diagnosed lung cancer patients and healthy people. Other than high GI diet, well known unhealthy habits such as drinking a lot of alcohol, tobacco, and not being physically active all were common traits between the lung cancer patients. This new information about lung cancer hopes to help prevent lung cancer rates from increasing ("White Bread, Bagels and Rice 'increase the Risk of Lung Cancer by 49 per Cent'" 1).

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