Lung cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers in both men and women and the leading cause of cancer death. It causes more deaths than breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined. It is caused by uncontrolled growth of malignant cells in one or both lungs. The malignant cells form tumors which interfere with the functioning of the lungs.
Lung cancer is mainly related to smoking or exposure to radon or other environmental factors. It cannot be prevented but there are measures that can be taken to lower the risks. Avoiding tobacco and adopting a healthy diet will go a long way in lowering the risks of getting lung cancer.
It is possible that lung cancer can be put in remission and the treatment is more effective if it is detected in its early stages. The signs may not be noticeable at the early stage but they become more pronounced as cancer spreads. Here are some of the common signs of lung cancer:
Coughing might not necessarily signal cancer. However, a persistent cough that doesn’t go away for more than three weeks could be a warning of something more serious. The cough often gets worse with time. Don’t dismiss a stubborn cough, whether it produces mucus or not. Contact your doctor right away.
Shortness of breath, noisy breathing (stridor) or wheezing could all point to lung cancer. A change in breathing occurs due to cancer causing the airway to be narrow or blocked. Fluids from the lung tumor can also build up in the chest and cause difficulties in breathing.
Lung cancer produces pains in the chest that often get worse with coughing or laughing. The pain caused by lung cancer results from enlarged lymph nodes or metastasis to the lining around the lungs and chest walls.
Loss of appetite and weight
An unexplained loss of appetite and subsequently weight may be signs of lung cancer. This can be due to the cancer cells using up energy. Fatigue will also follow the loss of appetite.
Advanced stages of lung cancer spread to other parts of the body apart from the lungs such as the brain, liver or bones. This makes it more difficult to cure. There are different lung cancer treatments such as:
Surgery is performed to try to remove the lung cancer and a margin of healthy lung tissue.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill the cancer cells. One or more drugs may be administered intravenously or orally. The drugs are given over a period of weeks or even months with breaks in between to allow the body to recover.
Radiation therapy utilizes high-powered beams from x-rays to kills cancer cells. It can be used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells.
The key to curing lung cancer is early detection. If you notice any of the above sign and symptoms, quickly contact your doctor.