The respiratory system consists of all the organs involved in breathing. These include the nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi and lungs. The respiratory system does two very important things: it brings oxygen into our bodies, which we need for our cells to live and function properly; and it helps us get rid of carbon dioxide, which is a waste product of cellular function. The nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea and bronchi all work like a system of pipes through which the air is funneled down into our lungs. There, in very small air sacs called alveoli, oxygen is brought into the bloodstream and carbon dioxide is pushed from the blood out into the air. When something goes wrong with part of the respiratory system, such as an infection like Pneumonia, it makes it harder for us to get the oxygen we need and to get rid of the waste product carbon dioxide. Common respiratory symptoms include breathlessness, cough, and chest pain.

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Cancer of the lung, like all cancers, results from an abnormality in the body's basic unit of life, the cell. Normally, the body maintains a system of checks and balances on cell growth so that cells divide to produce new cells only when new cells are needed. Disruption of this system of checks and balances on cell growth results in an uncontrolled division and proliferation of cells that eventually forms a mass known as a tumor. Tumors can be beginning malignant (very dangerous or harmful); when we speak of "cancer," we are referring to those tumors that are malignant. Benign tumors usually can be removed and do not spread to other parts of the body. Malignant tumors, on the other hand, grow aggressively and invade other tissues of the body, allowing entry of tumor cells into the bloodstream and then to other sites in the body. This process of spread is termed metastasis; the areas of tumor growth at these distant sites are called metastases. Since lung cancer tends to spread or metastasize very early after it forms, it is a very life-threatening cancer and one of the most difficult cancers to treat. While lung cancer can spread to any organ in the body, certain organs -- particularly the adrenal glands, liver, brain, and bone -- are the most common sites for lung cancer metastasis.

The respiratory system performs a process known as gas exchange that releases carbon dioxide from the body and brings in oxygen. This occurs in the lungs and the circulatory system then transports the oxygen to cells that used internal respiration to burn fuel in the form of ATP for energy, thus creating more carbon dioxide. That then is taken back to the lungs and exhaled.

Treatment for Lung Cancer

Here's are great video on how the Respiratory System works.