Bronchial Cancer

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

msBahasa Malaysia


What is bronchial cancer?

Bronchial cancer is a rare type of cancer that starts in the lung airways (bronchi) or windpipe (trachea), and in the salivary glands. It is believed that most bronchial cancer can spread to other parts of the body. Yet they often grow slowly and are treatable, so if you have one, keep in mind that they have a good outlook.

This type of cancer can be classified into three groups:

  • Carcinoid tumors: This can affect hormone-producing cells and nerve cells. They can form in the lungs, or in the stomach and intestines.
  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma: This usually starts in the salivary glands in the mouth and throat. It also can affect the trachea and tear glands in the eyes, sweat glands, or a woman’s uterus, vulva, or breasts.
  • Mucoepidermoid carcinoma: This happens in the salivary glands. Most cancers of this type affect the parotid glands in front of the ears.

How common is bronchial cancer?

This condition can occur at any age, but it is considered as more popular in men.

However, it can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of bronchial cancer?

Symptoms of bronchial cancer depend on whether the tumor is located centrally or peripherally in the airways. Persons with central location might have symptoms of obstruction and bleeding, which include the following:

  • Difficulty breathing: It is caused by partial obstruction of the windpipe or large bronchi.
  • Abnormal sound produced by turbulent flow of air through a narrowed part of the larger airways: This symptom can be present when the cancer is in the windpipe or large bronchi.
  • Wheezing: It is heard if the obstructed air passages are further out in the large bronchi.
  • Cough, fever, and sputum production

These may result from complete obstruction of the bronchi, leading to collapse, infection, and destruction of the lung tissue on the other side of the obstruction.

  • Coughing up blood: This results from ulceration of the lining of the airway overlying the tumor and is fairly common in bronchial cancer. Coughing up blood is a danger sign and nearly always indicative of a serious disease, whether bronchial cancer or another lung condition.

Persons with peripheral lesions are more commonly asymptomatic, which means that they do not have any obvious symptoms.

When should I see my doctor?

Early diagnosis and treatment can stop this condition from worsening and prevent another medical emergency, so talk to your doctor as soon as possible to prevent this serious condition.

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes bronchial cancer?

Unfortunately, doctors don’t know the exact cause of bronchial cancer. Genes may play a primary role in some forms of this cancer. Individuals with an inherited disease called multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN) are more likely to get this disease. Having radiation to your head and neck can raise your risk for mucoepidermoid carcinoma.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for bronchial cancer?

You may have higher risks for this condition if you are:

  • Smoking: Your risk of the cancer increases with the number of cigarettes you smoke each day and the number of years you have smoked. Quitting at any age can significantly lower your risk of developing bronchial cancer.
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke: Even if you don’t smoke, your risk of the cancer increases if you’re exposed to secondhand smoke.
  • Exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens: Workplace exposure to asbestos and other substances known to cause cancer — such as arsenic, chromium and nickel — also can increase your risk of developing bronchial cancer, especially if you’re a smoker.
  • Family history of bronchial cancer: People with a parent, sibling or child with bronchial cancer have an increased risk of the disease.

Diagnosis & Treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.


How is bronchial cancer diagnosed?

If your doctor suspects that you may experience this condition, a physical examination will be performed and some tests will be also recommended by your doctor. Some common tests may be ordered include:

  • Biopsy: You doctor will remove a small piece of tissue. A specialist checks the sample under a microscope to see if it’s cancer.
  • X – ray: Doctor will use low doses of radiation to make images of structures inside your body. A chest X-ray can look for a tumor in your airway.
  • MRI: It uses powerful magnets and radio waves to make pictures of organs and structures inside your body. It can show the size of the tumor. You may get a liquid to drink, or into a vein before the test. This contrast dye will help create a clearer picture.

Your doctor might also do other types of scans to look for the tumor and see if it has spread.

How is bronchial cancer treated?         

Depending on the type and stage of cancer, some treatment options will be recommended by your doctor:

Options may include:

  • Surgery: This is the main treatment for bronchial cancers. The surgeon will remove the cancer and some of the tissue around it. Lymph nodes around the tumor may also be removed to stop the disease from spreading.
  • Radiation: This treatment uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells. It can relieve symptoms and help you feel better. You also can get it after surgery to kill any cancer cells left behind.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemo uses drugs to kill cancer cells all over your body. You get it through a vein (IV) or as a pill. You may get chemo along with other treatments if your cancer has spread. Or, you might get it after surgery to kill any cancer cells left behind.
  • Immunotherapy: This treatment uses medicine to boost your immune system’s ability to find and destroy cancer. Immunotherapy can shrink tumors or stop their growth.
  • Targeted therapy: These treatments look for proteins or genes that are unique to your cancer, and that help it grow. Then it targets those substances to stop the cancer from spreading.

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage bronchial cancer?

Actually, there’s no certain way to avoid bronchial cancer, but you can reduce your risk if you:

  • Stop smoking: Quitting reduces your risk of bronchial cancer, even if you’ve smoked for years. Talk to your doctor about strategies and stop-smoking aids that can help you quit. Options include nicotine replacement products, medications and support groups.
  • Avoid secondhand smoke: If you live or work with a smoker, urge him or her to quit. At the very least, ask him or her to smoke outside. Avoid areas where people smoke, such as bars and restaurants, and seek out smoke-free options.
  • Avoid carcinogens at work: Take precautions to protect yourself from exposure to toxic chemicals at work. Follow your employer’s precautions. For instance, if you’re given a face mask for protection, always wear it. Ask your doctor what more you can do to protect yourself at work. Your risk of lung damage from workplace carcinogens increases if you smoke.
  • Eat a diet full of fruits and vegetables: Choose a healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Food sources of vitamins and nutrients are best. Avoid taking large doses of vitamins in pill form, as they may be harmful.
  • Exercise most days of the week: If you don’t exercise regularly, start out slowly. Try to exercise most days of the week.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: February 26, 2017 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019

You might also like