6 Causes of Lung Cancer
In the Philippines, lung cancer ranks first among the deadliest cancers for men and is the third cause of cancer deaths among women. This disease is estimated to be responsible for nearly one in five cancer deaths.
Lung cancer, also known as carcinoma of the lung, begins with an uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. When left untreated, these cells spread across other parts of the body.
Smoking has been known to be the number one risk factor for acquiring lung cancer. But even non-smokers are not safe from lung cancer for they may already have a family history of lung cancer, or have been exposed to secondhand smoke and other harmful gases.
Every year, more people die of lung cancer than colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. This is due to the fact that lung cancer is often diagnosed at a later stage which makes it harder to treat.
Lung cancer in its early stages often do no show visible symptoms. This is why it is vital to notice possible signs and symptoms of lung cancer early on to be able to treat it.
The American Cancer Society lists down symptoms of lung cancer:
Colds and coughs are common among people especially during cold seasons. However, if one’s cough exceeds three weeks with no symptoms of a cold, it may be an early sign of lung cancer.
A patient should see the doctor if he has a persistent cough that has lingered for weeks and does not respond to medication. The physician may advise the patient to undergo exams like x-rays and other tests to ensure what is the cause of the cough and plan its treatment thereafter.
Coughing Up Blood
Aside from a persistent cough, coughing up blood may be a symptom of lung cancer. No matter how small or plenty it be, one must see the doctor right away to find out its possible cause.
This symptom can indicate lung cancer especially if the patient is a smoker. In addition, the patient may also notice changes in his chronic cough becoming deeper and sounds hoarse.
Blood in one’s cough may also include infections like tuberculosis, bronchitis or pneumonia and some cardiovascular conditions.
A cough is a reflex action done by the body to clear a person’s airways of mucus and irritants. Though it is rarely a sign of anything serious, a wheezing or whistling with the cough may mean otherwise.
While wheezing is usually caused by asthma and allergies, it can also be a symptom of lung cancer. If a patient continues to wheeze without having an asthma, it is best to consult a doctor to find out its cause.
Shortness of Breath
Another symptom of lung cancer is also being short of breath. Nine out of ten people with advance lung cancer experience this symptom.
Normally, a person experiences a shortness of breath when he is not taking enough oxygen and the lungs try to draw in more air to make up for the loss. But with lung cancer, shortness of breath may occur if there is blockage in the airway or if fluid from a tumor is building up in the chest.
Chest and Bone Pain
When lung cancer spreads to the lining of the lungs, the act of coughing, laughing or deep breathing triggers chest pains.
In its advanced stages, the cancer can also spread to the bones causing pain in the back, arms, neck, shoulder or other parts of the body. These pains can worsen at night when one is lying on his back.
One should consult the doctor right away for unexplainable chest or bone pain lasting more than four weeks.
Frequent Chest Infections
Re-occurring chest infections like bronchitis or pneumonia despite medication and antibiotics can be a sign of overall poor lung health, including cancer.
When tumors appear, they can block off airways which leads to a build-up of infection making it harder to treat even with antibiotics.
If a patient’s bronchitis or pneumonia does not go away after treatment, consult with a doctor and ask them to conduct a thorough checkup of the lungs for possibility of cancer.
These symptoms may be caused by something other than lung cancer. Still, it pays to be safe. If you are suffering from any of these problems, it is best to see a doctor at LH Prime Medical Clinics to be recommended exams so that the cause can be found and treated.