Lung cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the lungs. It is a condition that causes cells in the lungs to divide uncontrollably. This causes tumor growth that reduces a person’s ability to breathe.
It is the leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the united states. According to the World Cancer Research Fund, there were over two million new cases in 2018, resulting in a whopping 12.3% of all cancers diagnosed in the year.
There are typically two most common types of lung cancers which are Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC) and Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). NSCLC accounts for nearly 90% of all lung cancers diagnosed and typically grows at a slower rate than SCLC.
Symptoms Of Lung Cancer
Although Lung cancer may not give any sign or symptom at the early stages until the disease has advanced Some people with early lung cancer have symptoms. Research shows that about 25% of people who get lung cancer first discovered it on a routine chest x-ray or CT-Scan.
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Lung Cancer
- Coughing up blood
- A new cough that persists or worsens or change in an existing chronic cough
- Sudden shortness of breath or shortness of breath during regular daily activities
- Unexplainable weight loss and loss of appetite
- Weakness and fatigue
- Unexplainable severe Headache
- Chest Pain that gets worse when you take deep breathe, laugh or cough
- Back or Shoulder pain that comes when you cough or take a deep breath
- Raspy, Hoarse Voice
- Infections like bronchitis and pneumonia that keeps coming back or persists
- Pain while swallowing
If the tumor has spread to distant organs or become advanced symptoms may include:
- Bone Pain
- Swelling of the face and neck or arm
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (Jaundice)
- Lumps in the neck
- Finger clubbing (Changes in the appearance of fingers)
Note that most of these symptoms are likely to be caused some other conditions other than lung cancer. It is important to consult a professional medical practitioner if you feel any of these signs to find the cause of your symptoms and get treated.
Other symptoms and signs
- Drooping of the eyelid and a smaller eye pupil due to Horner Syndrome which is a symptom associated with nerve damage
- Blood clots or excess bone growth
- Headaches, Blurred vision or seizures if the brain or spinal cord is affected
- Numbness in the arms and legs
- Swelling of the hands and legs due to fluid collection or extreme fatigue if the tumor has spread to the liver
- Muscle Cramps or Muscle weakness.
Prevention Of Lung Cancer
Different types of cancers are caused by different factors. For lung cancer, reseachers continue to look into factors that might cause it and also ways to prevent it. At the moment there are no proven ways to completely prevent the disease but certain habits might help lower the risk. The most effective prevention is to stop smoking and eliminate exposure to tobacco smoke. People who never smoke have the lowest risk of the disease. Minimizing exposure to passive smoking is also an effective prevention measure.
Avoid Tobacco or Smoking
Smoking damages cells in the lung, causing the cells to grow abnormally. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cigarette smoking causes about 80% to 90% of lung cancer deaths in the United States. If you smoke the best way to prevent lung cancer is to stop smoking. Every year you don’t smoke lowers your risk of the disease.
Avoid SecondHand or Passive Smoking
Avoid where smoking occurs, regular exposure to smoke from someone else’s cigarettes, cigars, or pipes increases a person’s risk of lung cancer. The U.S Surgeon General estimates that living with a person who smokes increases the chance of lung cancer by 20% to 30%. research also suggests that secondhand smoke exposure may increase the risk of other cancer (cervical cancer, kidney cancer, rectal cancer) by at least 30%.
Radon is an odorless gas naturally released by some soil and rocks. According to verywellhealth.com radon is the leading cause of lung cancer after smoking and the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. The U.S Environmental Protection Agency recommends that all homes should be tested for radon.
Be Careful At work and Home
Prevention is important at both the home and office. Substances like gases or chemicals can increase a person’s risk. Be careful with wood smoke from wood-burning stove or coal. Diesel gas fumes or fumes from soldering metals are substances to be careful with.
When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can irritate the lungs. People who work with asbestos e.g shipbuilders, asbestos miners, etc are a greater risk of the disease. U.S a protective mask if you work in any job that exposes you to the disease.