Lung Cancer: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatments
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women. Each year, lung cancer takes more lives than breast, prostate, and colon cancers combined.
However, those that catch cancer in the early stages can receive treatment and be cured. Catching it early means you need to be totally aware of your body and notice unusual changes (big or small) as soon as they come up. Early treatment is key when overcoming any kind of cancer.
What Causes Lung Cancer?
Cancer occurs when cells change or mutate. This is no different when it comes to lung cancer. There are many factors that can lead to mutating cells in lungs, but inhaling toxic substances is most common, even if it has been years and years. Cigarette smoke is the leading toxic substance that causes lung cancer. Along with cigarette smoke, there are several other causes of lung cancer. Some of which include: radon, a colorless and odorless gas, hazardous chemicals like asbestos and arsenic, particles found in the air we breathe, and genetics.
What are the Sign and Symptoms of Lung Cancer?
Symptoms may not always appear, but some people are lucky enough to have and notice early symptoms before cancer has spread. If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, it is important to meet with your doctor right away. The earlier the treatment, the better chance you have of beating cancer. Best to be safe than sorry. Here are some early signs and symptoms to be aware of:
- Coughing up blood or reddish-hued mucus
- Hoarseness and wheezing
- Infections like bronchitis or pneumonia
- Chronic cough that worsens over time
- Loss of weight and appetite
- Chronic fatigue and weakness
- Chest pain, especially when coughing, laughing, or breathing deeply
- Shortness of breath
Here are later signs and symptoms of lung cancer that has spread to other areas:
- Yellowing of skin or eyes
- Pain in hips or back or other bones
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Extreme dizziness, headaches, numbness
- Balance issues
These signs and symptoms can, and often are, signs and symptoms of something else. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, lung cancer or not, it is very important to seek medical attention to get the treatment you need.
How is Lung Cancer Treated?
As previously mentioned, the sooner you receive a diagnosis the sooner you can be treated, which increases chances of survival. Thanks to modern medicine, there are many treatments available for lung cancer. The type of lung cancer and its stage determines the type of treatment that will take place.
- Chemotherapy uses chemical substances and medications to kill cancer cells.
- Radiation therapy uses ionizing radiation to kill malignant cells.
- Targeted therapy uses drugs to block cancer cells from growing or spreading.
- Surgery entails surgical removal of cancerous tissues.
It is extremely important to talk to your doctor about information regarding the signs, symptoms, and treatment of lung cancer. If you are at all concerned with your health, seek medical attention and advice as soon as possible.