Lung Cancer – Warning Signs and Symptoms
Lung cancer being the most fatal of all the cancers worldwide is regarded as one of the leading causes of death amongst both men and women in the U.S. It is the most universal form of cancer in men worldwide whereas, the fifth most common form of cancer in women.
In medical terminology, the malevolent transformation and expansion of lung tissues causes cancer in lungs, in simple words, the rapid growth of abnormal cells in the lungs leads to cancer which may start anywhere in the lungs and cause respiratory issues, healthy tissues are destroyed and invaded and the whole body is affected.
When examined under a microscope by a pathologist lung cancer can be of two types, namely:’
o Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC): This type of cancer accounts for 20% of lung cancer, with smoking being one of the most common causes for SCLC.
o Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC): NSCLC is accountable for 80% of lung cancers, which have related symptoms. This includes Squamous cell carcinoma (also called epidermoid carcinoma), Large Cell Carcinoma, Adenocarcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
Treatment of cancer (lung) varies as it is based on the exact location and the extent of spread. Usually, there are no definite signs or symptoms in the early stages, as they only occur later in the advance stages.
It is only on a routine chest X-ray or CT scan that cancer (in the lungs) in the form of coin lesions, is detected in its tumour form which looks like a coin. Some of the symptoms of cancer (lung) include:
o A persistent cough which worsens with time
o Aggravation of an existing chronic cough
o Blood being coughed up
o Breathing difficulties such as shortness of breath accompanied by hoarseness and wheezing
o Constant chest pain
o Repeated attacks of bronchitis or pneumonia
o Swollen face and neck
o Unexplained weight loss and/or fatigue
Some other symptoms related with late-stage cancer (lung) include:
o Headache, bone pain, aching joints, bleeding or blood clots,
o Bone fractures not related to accidental injury,
o Neurologic symptoms- unsteady walk and/or intervallic memory loss.
The numbers of deaths caused by cancer (in the lungs) are more as compared to the total number of deaths caused by colon, prostate, ovarian, lymph and breast cancers combined. About 85% of lung cancer cases are due to cigarette smoking. This is based on the correlation between the number of cigarettes smoked and the number of years of indulging in the vice. However, the risk of developing lung cancer can be reduced by quitting smoking, as 90% of lung cancer is due to tobacco use.
Apart from cigarette smoking, other causes of Cancer (in the lungs) are increase in pollution levels, radiation and asbestos exposure.