What is Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Lung?Squamous cell carcinoma of the lung is a type of lung cancer that begins in the squamous cells of the airways that make up the lining or wall of the trachea, bronchi, and small airways that carry oxygen to the lungs. Squamous cells are thin, flat cells that are found in surface tissues of the skin, line the cavities and tubular structures of the body, and these cells line the body’s airways and digestive tract. It usually develops in the middle part of the lungs and major air ways of the respiratory system. Major air ways of the respiratory system are trachea (wind pipe), bronchi (left and right bronchus) and bronchioles.
Disease CausesCigarette smoking is responsible for 80% of squamous cell carcinoma in men and 90% in women. A strong association has also been observed between cigarette smoking and the development of squamous cell lung cancer. Other risk factors are a family history of squamous cell lung cancer in a close family member, older age, secondhand smoke, and exposure to certain types of minerals and asbestos. It is more common in males as compared to females.
Signs and SymptomsSigns and symptoms depend on the extent and spread of the disease to other organs or parts of the body. If the cancer is limited to the lungs, the patient will only experience signs and symptoms of the respiratory system. At the same time, in cases where this cancer spreads to other parts of the body, the patient also experiences B symptoms of cancer.
General respiratory symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma of the lung
- Persistent cough
- Dyspnea (shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing)
- Chest pain that worsens with coughing, laughing and breathing deeply
- Coughing up blood
- Wheezing without having asthma history
- Clubbing of the fingers and nails (A physical sign characterized by a bulging extension at the ends of one or more fingers or toes).
The following are the general B symptoms (systemic symptoms) of squamous cell carcinoma of lungs when it spreads to other organs of the body. These are
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
- Bone pains
DiagnosisThe following diagnostic tests and procedures can be used to make a diagnosis. These are;
- Imaging techniques like Chest X-ray, CT-scan, MRI, and PET scan to see the site, size, and extent of the tumor.
- Tumor biopsy ( lung tumor biopsy to remove a small sample of lung tissue for histopathological examination)
- Sputum cytology
- USG guided fine needle aspiration cytology