7 Major Things To Know About Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is the 2nd leading cancer worldwide, and cigarette smoking is the leading risk factor, accounting for around 90% of lung cancer cases. Here are the seven interesting facts on lung cancer that everyone needs to know about.
1. It Is Never Too Late Or Too Easy. Quit Smoking
I am too young to get lung cancer
I have smoked for many years, and quitting smoking won’t reduce my lung cancer risk
Have you or any of your loved ones had the same thoughts? It’s time to change that as they are not true. If you have smoked for many years, the permanent scarring may have happened in the lungs, but there may still be portions where significant scarring has not yet happened. Quitting smoking may result in improved lung function, and also, it helps treatment better work and recovery.
If you quit cigarette smoking at the age of thirty, the chance of prematurely dying from lung cancer and other smoking-related diseases reduces by 90 percent, and if you quit around 50, you can reduce the risk by 50 percent.
Most of the cancer cases are seen in people aged 65 or older, but about 10 percent of cases are seen in 55.
2. Even Minimal Exposure To Secondhand Smoke Can Be Harmful
Non-smokers can also get affected by smoking. Smoke inhaled from a cigarette being smoked by other persons increases your risk of lung cancer. If you work or live with a regular smoker, you have a 20 to 30 percent increased risk of developing lung cancer. It is also said that the cancer-causing substances present more in secondhand smoke compared to the smoke inhaled by the smoker.
3. Is It Possible To Detect This Cancer Early? Who Should Be Screened For Lung Cancer?
Screening tests are done when you are healthy and have no signs or symptoms of the disease. It can help find cancers at an early stage where they can be successfully treated. Low-dose computed tomography (LDCT or low-dose CT) is the only screening test for lung cancer. This LDCT test uses a low amount of radiation to get detailed images of the lungs which help find the abnormalities.
This test is recommended for adults between 50 and 80 who have quit within the past 15 years or currently smoke and have at least a 20 pack-year smoking history. A pack-year is smoking an average of 1 pack of cigarettes each day for one year.
4. Smoking Is Not The Only Reason For Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is always seen as a smoker’s disease. But other than smoking, there are certain risk factors of lung cancer. Radon is a radioactive natural gas found in soil and can sometimes be present in buildings. Exposure to this gas is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer.
Exposure to carcinogenic substances such as nickel, asbestos, chromium, tar, and soot, or cadmium in the workplace and radiation from medical procedures (radiation therapy or imaging tests) can also increase the risk of lung cancer. People who are living with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and certain other lung disorders may also be at increased lung cancer risk.
5. Effective Treatments Are Now Available For Lung Cancer
In recent years, many immunotherapy and targeted therapy drugs have been approved for advanced lung cancer, and more are in development. These treatments have improved the overall survival rates than the chemotherapy treatments in patients.
The immune system is the disease-fighting system that helps prevent or slow the growth of cancers. But the cancer cells have the ability to make them less visible and avoid destruction by the immune system. Immunotherapy is the use of substances that helps the immune system to better fight against lung cancer.
Targeted therapy is the use of drugs or substances that can precisely identify and attack certain cancer cells, limiting the side effects during the treatment. These drugs can target the proteins or genes that are involved in the growth of cancers.
Also, many improvements are made in surgical and radiation therapy for cancer. Hence, a patient with stage four lung cancer has multiple treatment options now.
6. Don’t Ignore The Symptoms
Most lung cancers wouldn’t cause symptoms until they begin to spread to other parts, but in some people, symptoms may occur in the early stages. Noticing the symptoms and checking with a physician can help find cancers early where the cancers are highly treatable. Below mentioned are some of the common symptoms of lung cancer.
- Persistent cough
- Coughing up blood
- Constant chest pain
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
- Tiredness, weakness, or numbness of arm or leg
- Frequent lung infections
These could also be caused by other conditions. Though, it is vital to consult your physician if you experience any of these symptoms.
7. You Can Reduce Your Risk Of Lung Cancer
Certain lung cancer risk factors can be controlled and help prevent cancer.
- Quit tobacco use and avoid secondhand smoke.
- There are steps to test for and decrease radon levels in the buildings. Get your home tested for radon.
- Include more whole grains, and vegetables in your daily diet.
- If you need to handle carcinogenic substances in the workplace, follow the proper precautions suggested. For example, if you are asked to wear goggles and gloves, wear them without fail.
It's Time To Live Healthily
Lung cancer is the 1st cause of cancer-associated deaths, but thanks to the advances in the medical field, the death rates have fallen in the last three decades. Now, having known the causes and interesting facts on lung cancer, try to avoid the risk factors. Start on with regular screening tests as it can help to reduce the occurrence and impact of lung cancer. Live healthily and stay disease-free.