Warning signs of lung cancer

Lung cancer is one among the most common types of cancers in both men and women worldwide. According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, approximately one out of every 14 men and women in the U.S will be diagnosed with lung cancer at some point in their life time. Lung cancer has surpassed breast cancer as the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in women.
Being aware of the risk factors and paying attention to warning signs and symptoms can save life.

Risk factors

There is a strong link between lung cancer and cigarette smoking, about 90% of lung cancers are a result of tobacco use. The risk of lung cancer increases the more cigarettes you smoke and the longer time you smoke. It is believed that among smokers of two or more packs of cigarettes per day, one in seven will die of lung cancer.

You don’t have to be a smoker yourself to put your health at risk. Tobacco smoke contains many chemicals that have been shown to be carcinogenic. The risk increases the more you are exposed to cigarettes smoked by other people.

It is believed that prolonged exposure to highly polluted air can increase the risk of developing lung cancer similar to that of passive smoking.

Asbestos use is limited or banned in many countries, but was widely used in the past. This includes also exposure to certain chemicals and substances that are used in several occupations and industries such as arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, coal, silica and nickel.

Radon gas is a natural radioactive gas that is a product of uranium. It is invisible and odourless and can come up  through soil and enter the house.

Individual genetic susceptibility may play a role in getting lung cancer. People with a family member with lung cancer have an increased risk of the disease.

Certain lung diseases are associated with an increased risk for developing lung cancer, such as COPD and scarring of the lung. Almost 70% of people diagnosed with lung cancer are over 65 years of age, whereas less than 3% of lung cancer occur in people under 45 years of age.

Sings of lung cancer

Warning signs of lung cancer are not always present or easy to identify. In some cases lung cancer may not show any noticeable symptoms in the early stages. However, early screening may help people at high risk of the disease.

  • Persistent cough or changes in cough.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Chest and bone pain.
  • Wheezing.
  • Voice changes.
  • Neurological symptoms and headache.
  • Weight loss, loss of appetite, fatigue and weakness.
  • Persistent chest infections.

Hence, you need to listen to your body and if the symptoms persists and doesn’t go away, go to see your doctor.

How to reduce the risk for developing lung cancer?

  • Stop smoking.
  • Test your home for radon.
  • Avoid carcinogens at work.
  • Other lifestyle changes.
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.


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