• Question: How does lung cancer effect the lungs?

    Asked by bellk19 to Paul on 9 Nov 2019.
    • Photo: Paul Laurance-Young

      Paul Laurance-Young answered on 9 Nov 2019:

      This is a quite complicated answer to what appears to be a simple question; Well done!
      In a nutshell, lung cancer is solid (but can be mucinous), while your lungs have lots of little air pockets – the alveoli. The simple answer is that lung cancers interfere with how much air the lungs can take in. BUT! The cancers are often quite small, and so this kind of interference will be quite limited. You have to factor in the body’s immune response – the cells, the chemicals these cells put out and the nearby tissue’s response to those chemicals, which are quite damaging. Take these two together and you get a much larger effect, which – overall- reduces the lung ability to work effectively.