7 Warning Signs of Lung Cancer
Unfortunately, lung cancer is one of the most pervasive cancers in the world for both men and women. According to the National Cancer Institute, about one of fourteen men and women will be diagnosed at some point during their lifetime. In the U.S., lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in women, surpassing breast cancer. We can try and prevent lung cancer by being aware of the risk factors and paying attention to the warning signs and symptoms.
There is a strong link between lung cancer and smoking – even 90% of lung cancer cases come as a result of tobacco use. The more cigarettes you smoke and the longer time you smoke increases your risk of lung cancer. It is believed that among people who smoke two or more packs of cigarettes per day, one in seven will die of lung cancer.
You don’t even have to be a smoker to put your health at risk. Many chemicals that are present in tobacco smoke have been shown to be carcinogenic. Your risk of lung cancer increases every time when you are exposed to cigarettes smoked by the other people.
Similar to passive smoking, prolonged exposure to highly polluted air increases the risk of developing lung cancer. This includes exposure to asbestos fibers and other chemicals and substances that are used in several occupations and industries, such as arsenic, cadmium, coal, beryllium, silica and nickel.
Radon gas is a natural radioactive gas that is a product of uranium. It is odorless and invisible and can come up through the soil and enter the house.
Individual genetic susceptibility can play a role in getting lung cancer. People with a family member with lung cancer have an increased risk of the disease.
There are certain lung diseases that are associated with an increased risk of developing lung cancer, like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and scarring of the lung.
Almost 70% of the people diagnosed with lung cancer are over 65 years of age, while less than 3% of lung cancers occur in people under 45 years of age.
Signs and symptoms of lung cancer
The warning signs of lung cancer are not always easy to identify. In many cases, lung cancer doesn’t show any noticeable symptoms in its early stages. If you are concerned that some of the risk factors apply to you, then you should do an early screening because it helps people with a high risk for the disease.
A person with lung cancer may have the following symptoms:
Persistent cough or changes in cough
Usually, when we have a cold, the cough goes away after a week or two. However, if it persists over a long time, you should see a doctor. If you are a smoker or suffer from chronic cough, pay attention to any changes in your chronic cough, such as: more frequent coughs, deeper cough with a deeper or hoarse sound, having more mucus than usual or coughing up blood.
Shortness of breath
If you regularly experience shortness of breath while doing a task that you could have done easily in the past, it may be a symptom of lung cancer. This symptom occurs when a lung tumor blocks or narrows an airway, or if fluid from it builds up in the chest.
Chest and bone pain
One of the symptoms of lung cancer can be pain in the chest, shoulder, or back area. Lung cancer that has spread to the bones can cause pain at the sites of the affected bone. If it has spread to the brain it may cause a number of headaches and neurological symptoms. Pay attention to the signs that your body sends, and if they don’t disappear after a while, visit a doctor.
A whistling sound when you breathe can be a result from asthma or allergies, but it can also be associated with lung cancer. If the wheezing persists, visit a doctor to find what’s causing it.
A simple cold can cause your voice to become hoarser and deeper. However, if you notice these or any other significant changes in your voice, and they persist, visit a doctor.
Persistent chest infections
If you suffer from infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, that don’t go away or keep coming back, visit your doctor.
Weight loss, loss of appetite, fatigue and weakness
These symptoms are non-specific and can be seen with many other cancer types or other diseases. However, if the changes are unexplained and persist, you should go to your doctor to find out what’s causing them.
How to reduce the risk for developing lung cancer
First of all – stop smoking if you haven’t done it already. And eliminate your exposure to tobacco smoke if you are a passive smoker.
Test your home for radon
If you suspect you have radon gas in your home, buy a home radon test kit that can identify increased radon levels in the home.
Avoid carcinogens at work
Take preventive measures to protect yourself from exposure to toxic chemicals at work.
Other lifestyle changes
There’s been some strong evidence that suggests that regular exercise can lower the risk of developing lung cancer and other types of cancer. Also, increase your fiber intake by eating lots of fruits and vegetables. There is also evidence that garlic can reduce the risk of lung cancer.
Chest X-rays are not effective in detecting early-stage lung cancer. But, low-dose CT scans have been shown to reduce lung cancer mortality by 20%.
7 Warning Signs of Lung Cancer Reviewed by The Riddler on 9:00:00 AM Rating: