Lung cancer that starts in the lungs, if left unchecked, can spread to the lymph nodes or other organs in the body, but not from person to person. So is lung cancer contagious ? How is lung cancer spread? For details see the following article!

Is lung cancer contagious?

Lung cancer occurs when cells in the lungs change and grow out of control. These cells grow, form tumors, and can spread to other parts of the body. In Vietnam, there are more than 26,000 people with lung cancer and more than 23,000 deaths (statistics by 2020).

Smoking causes the majority of lung cancers – both in smokers and in people exposed to secondhand smoke. But lung cancer also occurs in never-smokers and in people who have never been exposed to secondhand smoke for long. In these cases, there is no clear cause of lung cancer.

Lung cancer begins in the lungs and spreads to the lymph nodes or other organs in the body. When cancer cells spread from one organ to another, it is called metastasis. Lung cancers are usually grouped into two main types called small cell and non-small cell (including adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma). Different types of lung cancer develop differently and are treated differently.

A person with lung cancer cannot “spread” to others and vice versa. Close contact or things like sex, kissing, touching, sharing meals or breathing the same air cannot spread cancer. Cancer cells from a person with cancer cannot live in the body of another healthy person. The immune system will find and destroy foreign cells, including cancer cells from other people.

How is lung cancer spread?

According to BS.CCII Ngo Truong Son, Deputy Department of Oncology, Tam Anh General Hospital, Hanoi, Although cancer is not contagious, there are some situations that can make many people think that cancer has spread from this person. to someone else.

1. Infection Increases Cancer Risk

Although people with cancer are not contagious, there are certain germs that may play a role in the development of certain types of cancer. This makes some people mistakenly believe that “cancer is working”. Infections associated with cancer include viruses, bacteria, and parasites.

2. Cancer in the family

Some families have more than one person with lung cancer, but this does not mean that family members have passed on cancer to each other. Reasons for this include:

  • Family members share the same genes.
  • Family members have similar unhealthy lifestyles (e.g. diet, activities, smoking habits, etc.).
  • Family members have been exposed to the same carcinogen.

3. Cluster of cancer

Some people point to “clusters” of cancer patients who come into contact with each other as evidence that cancer can spread. But clusters almost never reflect higher cancer rates than the general population. In the small number of cases where there are more cancers in a group, it is difficult to know what other factors (such as exposure to carcinogens and lifestyle) may be responsible for the cluster of cancers.

4. Having cancer during an organ transplant

Recent studies have shown that cancer can occur in organ transplant recipients. This may be because the drugs are used to reduce the risk of organ rejection, not the cancer spreading from the donated organ. Because these drugs weaken the immune system and can prevent the body from finding and destroying viruses and cells that lead to cancer.

Is lung cancer hereditary?

It is estimated that 8% of lung cancer cases are related to a genetic predisposition. The risk of lung cancer may be increased if a parent or sibling has the disease. However, that does not mean that you will definitely get the disease if someone in your family has it.

According to research, genetic factors are more likely to increase the risk of lung cancer for people who:

  • Female
  • Young people under 50 years old
  • People who never smoke

Scientists have identified certain gene mutations (changes in the genetic code) that can increase the risk of lung cancer. But this does not mean that all genetic mutations associated with lung cancer are inherited. A person can have congenital or acquired genetic mutations throughout life due to environmental factors (smoking, pollution, etc.).

Causes of lung cancer

BS.CKII Ngo Truong Son said that smoking is the main cause of about 80-90% of lung cancer cases. When breathing tobacco smoke containing carcinogens, changes in lung tissue begin to change immediately. At first, the body can repair it, but after multiple exposures, the normal cells that line the lungs become increasingly damaged. Over time, damage causes cells to function abnormally and eventually cancer develops.

Lung cancer risk factors include:

  • Exposure to secondhand smoke: Even without smoking, the risk of lung cancer increases if exposed to secondhand smoke.
  • Previous radiation therapy: If you have undergone radiation therapy to the chest for another type of cancer, you may have an increased risk of developing lung cancer.
  • Exposure to radon gas: Radon forms as a result of the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water, eventually becoming part of inhaled air. Unsafe radon levels can accumulate anywhere.
  • Exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens: Workplace exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens (arsenic, chromium, nickel) can increase your risk of developing lung cancer, especially if you’re a person. smoke.
  • Family history of lung cancer: People who have a parent, sibling, or child with lung cancer have a higher risk of developing the disease.

How to prevent lung cancer?

According to BS.CCII Ngo Truong Son, there is no way to prevent lung cancer absolutely, but it is possible to reduce the risk of the disease if: ( 4 )

  • Stop smoking: Don’t smoke or stop smoking to reduce your risk of lung cancer (even if you’ve smoked for many years).
  • Avoid passive smoking: If you live or work with a smoker, encourage them to quit. Or at least ask them to smoke outside. At the same time, it is necessary to avoid areas with smokers such as bars and restaurants.
  • Check and control indoor radon levels.
  • Avoiding carcinogens: Take precautions to protect yourself from exposure to hazardous chemicals in the workplace. The risk of lung damage from carcinogens in the workplace increases if a person smokes.
  • Choose a healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables: These are food sources rich in vitamins and nutrients. Avoid taking large doses of vitamins in pill form as this can be harmful.
  • Exercise regularly: Each person should be active, exercise 30 minutes/day, 5 days/week. If you don’t exercise regularly, start slowly.

Lung cancer screening

Currently, doctors use low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) of the lungs to look for lung cancer. Once the LDCT scan is complete, the patient can resume his or her daily activities normally. The images created during the scan are synthesized by a computer and evaluated by a doctor who specializes in diagnosing lung cancer with imaging tests.

Possible lung cancer screening results include:

  • No abnormalities found: Your doctor may recommend another scan after a year.
  • Lung nodule: Lung cancer appears as a small spot in the lung. Many other lung lesions also look like this, such as scarring from lung infections or noncancerous (benign) tumors. In studies, up to half of people screened for lung cancer had one or more nodules detected on LDCT. Most small nodules will be monitored during the next annual lung cancer screening visit. In some cases, the results may indicate that another lung CT scan is needed after several months to see if lung nodules have developed. The nodules that grow are more likely to be cancerous.
  • A large nodule is more likely to be cancerous: For that reason, additional tests such as biopsy, positron emission tomography, etc.
  • Other health problems: Lung cancer screening tests can detect other lung and heart problems that are common in long-term smokers, such as emphysema, hardening of the arteries in the heart, etc.

Thanks to the application of artificial intelligence (AI), the 768-slice CT scanning system at Tam Anh General Hospital is one of the most advanced devices to help screen and detect early stage lung cancer. With a scanning speed of 458mm/s, a resolution of 75ms, the scanner can detect extremely small lesions compared to conventional low-dose CT scanning methods.

In addition, the 768-slice CT scanning system is also equipped with a Tin filter to help reduce the dose of X-rays affecting the body, making it safe for patients.