Lung cancer does not just affect smokers. It is also one of the most common cancer types. This means it’s not just smokers that need to be aware of the symptoms and other details to do with this horrific type of cancer. Hopefully I’ll be able to outline this cancer type clearly in this post.
The lungs are part of the respiratory system and their main job is to bring oxygen into the body and pass it into the bloodstream.
The respiratory system:
- The trachea (windpipe) divides up into two airways with one going into each lung. These are called the left main bronchus and the right main bronchus,
- These pipes are divided into smaller tubes inside the lung – two on the left and three on the right. These smaller tubes are known as the secondary bronchi
- The secondary bronchi are then divided again into even smaller tubes called bronchioles
- At the end of the bronchioles there are tiny air sacs called alveoli in which oxygen is passed into the bloodstream and passed around the body. At the same time carbon dioxide comes into the alveoli from the bloodstream ready to be breathed out.
Causes of Lung Cancer and Risk Factors:
Cancer of the lung is the second most common type in the UK. It is one of the few cancers that has very clear causes.
SMOKING causes 9/10 cases of lung cancer. I’ve done posts about smoking before so I won’t go into detail but the majority of lung cancer patients are smokers or former smokers. AS SOON AS YOU STOP SMOKING YOUR RISK OF LUNG CANCER STARTS TO GO DOWN SO IT IS ALWAYS WORTH GIVING UP
Being exposed to radon gas is can also increase your risk of lung cancer as well as exposure to certain other chemicals. Air pollution, past cancer treatment and a family history of lung cancer can also increase your risk.
Symptoms of Lung Cancer:
The most common symptoms are:
Having a persistant cough
Being short of breath
A change in a cough you have had for a long while
Coughing up phlegm with traces of blood
Pain when breathing in
Pain when coughing
Loss of appetite
Less common symptoms are:
A hoarse voice
A swollen face or neck
Treating Lung Cancer:
There are a number of factors to be considered before your specialist will decide on the right treatment plan for you. These include the type of lung cancer you have, the grade and stage of it, your general health and the position of the cancer in your lung.
Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy are common treatments for lung cancer. Surgery may also be an option depending on where your cancer is in your lung.
It saddens to me to know that so many cases of lung cancer can be prevented if people didn’t smoke. The fact that lung cancer is the second most common cancer type in the UK and that 9/10 of lung cancer patients are smokers is the reason behind all the tobacco control campaigns Cancer Research UK do. We can lower the numbers significantly if people take advice offered to them and quit smoking. Going cold turkey will not be anywhere near as painful as lung cancer
If you are concerned by anything you have read today, please contact your doctor ASAP.