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Epidemiological Analysis of Lung Cancer

The selected issue in this paper is lung cancer. Lung cancer is a type of cancer that affects the lungs. It is the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women. The most common type of lung cancer is non-small cell lung cancer, which accounts for about 80% of all lung cancer cases. The type of lung cancer is usually treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery. The burden associated with cancer is excellent and needs to be examined. Even if lung cancer is a severe and life-threatening disease, many treatment options are available, and research is ongoing. However, the treatment depends on the type, stage, and location of cancer. Treatments may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. It is essential to be aware of the risk factors and to talk to a doctor if any symptoms are present. Thus, the paper examines lung cancer based on associated epidemiology, state and national guidelines, and the role of the nurse practitioner in managing and preventing the condition.

Background and Significance

Lung cancer is an abnormal growth of malignant cells in the lungs that causes an uncontrolled division of cells and can spread to other body parts. It is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, with over 150,000 deaths annually (Kate et al., 2019). It is a type of cancer that originates in the lungs and is usually caused by environmental and genetic factors. It occurs when abnormal lung cells divide and overgrow, forming a tumor. The cells can spread to other body parts, including the lymph nodes and other organs. Common types of lung cancer include non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). NSCLC accounts for most diagnoses of the disease. The type is broken into three subtypes: adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and others. Individuals diagnosed with NSCLS have better prognoses than those with SCLC. SCLC accounts for around 10 percent and spreads at a higher rate (Tay et al., 2019). The signs and symptoms of cancer may vary depending on the different stages of the disease. Common signs and symptoms of lung cancer include a persistent cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing up blood, and weight loss. Other symptoms may include fatigue, fever, hoarseness, and swollen lymph nodes.

However, in various other instances, lung cancer does not manifest symptoms until it has completely spread. Depending on where the infection spreads, these signs and symptoms may indicate metastatic illness, as lung cancer is typically asymptomatic, making its diagnosis complex in the initial stages. Most people may exhibit symptoms like persistent coughing, which includes blood and some rust-colored sputum. It also leads to chest pain that deepens with breathing shortness, hoarseness, lack of appetite, and lung infections (Bradley et al., 2019). The common areas where this cancer can spread include the brain, bones, lymph nodes, and liver. Also, the disease can lead to syndromes exhibiting different signs and symptoms. Since we have different types of lung cancer, we have common modifiable risk factors. The modifiable factors include smoking, exposure to radon and secondhand smoke, consuming particular supplements, and asbestos exposure. Some modifiable factors include chest radiation, a family or personal history of lung cancer, and air pollution.

Different types are lumped together under this disease when determining the epidemiology data associated with lung cancer. In Connecticut, the rate of people alive after being diagnosed with lung cancer for five years (survival rate) is 31 percent. The rate is higher than the national rate of 25%. Our state is ranked 2nd in survival data among 46 states, placing it in the top tier (American Lung Association, 2022).

Demographic incidences of lung cancer rates.

Racial and Ethnicity Illinois National
Black 74 60
Latino 28 29
Asia and pacific islander 28 34
Indigenous 14 42

The table shows lung cancer’s demographic ethnicity and race at national and state levels from a population of 100,000 (American Lung Association, 2021).

Lung cancer has been identified as the leading cause of disease, accounting for 25% of cancer deaths. Lung cancer has the most significant impact in the U.S., so it is crucial for surveillance and reporting of the disease.

Surveillance and Reporting

Federal and state laws do the reporting of cancer, and the medical facilities that report cancer cases include radiation treatment centers, hospitals, dermatologists, independent pathology labs, and ambulatory surgery centers. Cases should be reported within the first six months after the diagnosis or four after discharge. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the body that deals with the national program for cancer and registries, which is responsible for collecting data about cancer on the entire population of the U.S. It also creates ways to decrease and treat cancer effectively. The epidemiology, prevalence, and incidence rates of lung cancer are tracked using data gathered in surveillance via permitted reporting lists (Smith et al., 2019). The guidance comes from the LDCT scan, performed on high-risk patients, and aids in early detection.

Further guidelines state that individuals diagnosed with cancer should receive surveillance scans. The surveillance scans will be conducted every six months for two consecutive years. With descriptive epidemiology and compiled data, it is possible to break down why and how lung cancer happens.

Epidemiological Analysis

Lung cancer is a well-known disease in the U.S. and is considered an epidemiology issue. The epidemiologic issue can be focused on the 5 Ws of epidemiology. Lung cancer has many subtypes that are found in the lung. The major types include NSCLC and SCLC, which develop in the linings of bronchioles. Lung cancer affects mainly the older population. Thus it is diagnosed later in life. Those aged 65 and above are more susceptible to the disease, but those as young as 45 are also affected. Aside from age, other modifiable risk factors for lung cancer include radon exposure, smoking, asbestos exposure, secondhand smoke, and eating specific diets (Rock et al., 2020). Non-modifiable risk factors for cancer are air pollution, previous radiation in the chest, and family or personal history of lung cancer. Smokers are more likely to have SCLC. There may also be other determinants of a person’s health that may influence lung cancer the diagnosis. Thus they may be exposed to asbestos, radon, and air pollution at high rates. Also, low-income areas do not have access to proper healthcare, referral hospitals required for LDCT scans, or even interdisciplinary teams to help them in the treatment process (Rock et al., 2020). The diseases are associated with high burdens and social costs. Patients with lung cancer may experience the following issues: lack of support, loneliness, loss of job, loss of independence, lack of support, and inability to travel.

Screening and Guidelines

Lung cancer diagnosis and screening are crucial to ensure the illness is diagnosed. Mortality rates rise if the disease is not diagnosed and treated. Lungs are diagnosed in steps, and the first is risk factor examination and current signs and symptoms of illness. After the illness indication, further testing is required. The chest x-ray is performed first to check for suspicious areas of the chest. The doctor may order a computer tomographic (CT) scan to give more data on the lungs and a picture of the lung tumor (Katki et al., 2018). The CT is more concerned with the shape, size, and position and can be identified along with the surrounding lymph node participation. Apart from the two scans, a doctor can order a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI, bone, or PET tomography (PET) scan. If there is tumor identification, a single scan of diagnostic test will be needed for pathology and sample obtaining. The cells required for cancer identification can be obtained from the doubting mass, lung fluid, secretion, and organs. The cells can be obtained using many criteria, including thoracentesis, bronchoscopy, sputum samples, thoracoscopy, and needle biopsy. After the model is obtained, it is sent for staging and pathology. The pathology outcome may take up to three to five days, approximating, for diagnosis generation.

Disease screening is the concept of detecting illness before symptoms appear. According to the American cancer community (2021), lung cancer screening is vital; however, the best practical screening guidelines are continuously transforming. The core value of screening is to detect diseases early and to be cautious about mortality rates. Formerly, regular chest X-rays were used for making and assessing certain conditions and symptoms to reduce deaths. Low-dose CT (LDCT) has recently been learned and recommended for the illness (Smith et al., 2018). A year-long LDCT scan prior to the onset of symptoms is recommended. Recently, the American cancer community has been revisiting current scientific evidence for recommendations on screening. As a result, the United States Caution Services Task Force recommended an LDCT scan as a yearly screening standard for individuals aged 50 to 80, recent smokers or those who quit smoking 15 years ago, and those with at least a 20-pack annual smoking history.


Lung cancer is known as a leading cause of many cancer-related deaths. Thus, nursing practitioners are supposed to be aware of the risk factors and prevention methodologies. When nurse practitioners encounter cancer patients, it is incumbent upon them to have a plan to ensure they effectively take care of the problem. Nursing practitioners are expected to utilize primary prevention mechanisms, which involve examining and identifying the risk factors that can be modified first. One of the modifiable risks is smoking tobacco, which leads to lung cancer (Hoeng et al., 2019). In such cases, nurse practitioners should integrate smoking cessation education as a way of helping patients address chronic diseases. Advanced practice nurses (APNs) can use the transtheoretical behavioral change model to administer smoking termination programs and mechanisms for making follow-ups during return calls to gauge efficacy and success. The trans-theoretical behavioral change approach encourages positive adjustments that enhance patients’ health. The healthcare professional will be able to comprehend the patient’s position during that process and empathize with their choices and mistakes, which is attributable to the transtheoretical model. The APN can assist the patient in setting reasonable objectives by having a thorough awareness of the five stages of transformation.

Nurse practitioners must set a practical objective to help the patient take baby steps toward a healthier approach to their lives during the initial stages. Smoking has a behavioral dimension and is a habitually repetitive act; thus, quitting requires learning newly learned behaviors. Those novel behaviors are deliberately embraced, and once retention is reached, they become acquired behaviors. The conceptual framework examines what, where, and how change is influenced. After adoption, the APN may ask several questions to see whether smoking has been discontinued practices of their patients (Brao et al., 2019). Nursing practitioners can also use secondary prevention mechanisms through early lung cancer detection screening. The APN can put into action early diagnosis as a follow-up preventive strategy. Getting an LDCT scan can help people identify lung cancer early and reduce mortality rates for those in elevated danger. Primary care doctors are the main contact points for patients and those who send applications for LDCT scans. The APN should have the skills to identify high-risk patients and make the appropriate recommendations (Brao et al., 2019). The results of the LDCT scans enable the APN to comply with the federal guidelines for annual examinations by providing them with data on referral efficacy.

The last option, in this case, is the implementation of the tertiary implementation practices. After detection, tertiary prevention raises the patient’s overall quality of life and increases survival. The APN may collaborate closely with oncologists throughout this care period to identify and discuss unfavorable treatment effects, such as pain control and mental health. Nursing practitioners must carefully collaborate with their clients to help them determine when support is needed and to formulate recommendations (Brao et al., 2019). Guidelines for chronic pain therapies and social support systems that offer psychological support will enhance patients’ quality of life. The nurse practitioner can decide whether such referrals are in the patient’s best interests by asking probing questions and listening attentively to the patient’s needs.


Lung cancer is chronic and comes in various subtypes from the lungs. It is associated with different risk factors, either modifiable or not. Nursing practitioners are thus in charge of incorporating preventative measures to benefit patients. The epidemiological data on the subject show the prevalence of the disease and the requirement for generating screening recommendations and reporting. The nurse practitioner plays a vital role in understanding, preventing, and providing therapy for patients and other people with chronic illnesses. Collaboration towards a common objective of delivering primary, secondary, and tertiary preventive measures from various health professionals ensures success.


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