Chances are that you’ve been worried about lung cancer at some point or another. Who can blame you, when lung cancer is one of the most talked about and prevalent cancers across the globe. Contrary to popular belief, smokers are not the only people that can develop lung cancer.
Cancer is a group of conditions characterized by uncontrolled cell division and growth. When this occurs in the lungs it is known as lung cancer. Lung cancer is estimated to affect 1.8 million people across the world, resulting in 1.6 million deaths. This makes lung cancer the most common cancer in the world.
Preventing lung cancer is not impossible. Knowing the risk factors and avoiding them is the best way to prevent this type of cancer. Close to 80% of lung cancer cases are caused by tobacco use. This means that it is actually the most preventable type of cancer.
Signs And Symptoms Of Lung Cancer
Unfortunately, lung cancer doesn’t present with any obvious signs and symptoms in the early stages of the disease. This often delays diagnosis and worsens the prognosis for the patient.
Signs and symptoms of lung cancer can include:
- Difficulty breathing
- New and persistent coughing
- Coughing blood
- Sudden weight loss
- Fatigue and weakness
- Chest pain
- Change in voice or hoarseness
- Bone pain
If you notice any of these symptoms, consult a specialist immediately.
Types Of Lung Cancer
It is important to know the type of lung cancer that a person has since this affects the treatment plan, survival rate, and overall prognosis.
There are two main types of lung cancer based on the cells in which the cancer starts. These are:
- Small cell lung cancer
This type of lung cancer accounts for 10-15% of total lung cancer cases and is almost always occurs only in smokers. Small cell lung cancer spreads faster and the prognosis is worse.
- Non-small cell lung cancer
This type of lung cancer includes a number of individual types of lung cancer which are adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.
Risk Factors For Lung Cancer
The first step towards preventing lung cancer is knowing the risk factors. A vast majority of lung cancer cases are caused by tobacco use. The other risk factors include genetics, previous family history of lung cancer, and exposure to radiation or secondhand smoke.
Tobacco use accounts for approximately 80% of all cases of lung cancer. The higher the use of tobacco, the higher the risk of lung cancer as well as other types of cancer. Even exposure to secondhand smoke can cause lung cancer.
Exposure to radiation especially from the chemical element Radon can also cause damage to the lungs and lead to lung cancer. Certain genetic mutations can make a person more likely to develop lung cancer.
How To Prevent Lung Cancer
The easiest way to prevent lung cancer is to avoid tobacco use completely, whether by smoking, chewing, vaping, or through secondhand exposure. If you smoke, quitting can greatly reduce your risk of lung cancer. If you don’t smoke or use tobacco, the best course of action is to not start at all.
Avoid exposure to cancer-causing agents like radiation, asbestos, arsenic, and other workplace hazards. A good diet and adequate exercise have also been known to reduce the risk of developing lung cancer.
As with most things regarding your health, when it comes to lung cancer and cancer in general prevention is always better than a cure. Be vigilant about your lifestyle and habits to avoid any untoward circumstances like cancer. Living a healthy life doesn’t have to be difficult; simply make small changes to see big results.