Sadly, millions around the world are diagnosed with lung cancer. Roughly 234,000 people within the United States are diagnosed with lung cancer each and every year. Interestingly enough, 60 to 65 percent of all new diagnoses are among people who’ve never smoked.
This piece will describe what lung cancer is, the symptoms to look out for, and the various treatment options made available.
Doctors will use a number of tests — CT scan, chest X-Ray, blood work — to determine the potential severity of the disease. Essentially, cancer cells divide in the lungs in an uncontrollable manner. The growth of the said tumors compromises the ability to breathe properly. Aside from CT and PET scans, doctors also utilize lab testing and tissue sampling.
If diagnosed with lung cancer, the patient will work hand-in-hand with the team of medical professionals in order to come up with a plan for treatment.
There are a number of symptoms most associated with lung cancer. Some of them include constant shortness of breath, bone pain, persistent headaches, chest pain, hoarseness, a cough that doesn’t go away, the gradual loss of weight, and the coughing up of blood (even in small quantities).
Along with that, other traits of the disease feature frequent chest infections — such as pneumonia or bronchitis. General appetite loss is also something to be mindful of.
There are fortunately ways to minimize the risk of getting diagnosed with lung cancer. For one, smoking should be off limits. Carcinogens can often wreak havoc on one’s lungs. Smoking is most strongly associated with lung cancer. If one is currently smoking, doctors likely would advice those individuals to stop smoking as a means to minimize risk of lung cancer.
Additionally, the avoidance of second-hand smoke is a desired trait. Avoiding carcinogens at all costs — even if on a job site — is preferred (wearing a mask is a way to avoid these airborne hindrances). Exercising and eating a healthy diet are means to keep one’s lungs functioning at a high level.
In terms of treatment, there are a few options. Depending on the severity, surgery may be looked at as the desired means of helping to ward off the disease. Cancerous tissue will literally be cut from the lung.
Chemotherapy is also used in many cases. A plethora of drugs and medicine is used with the goal of killing off cancerous cells. Radiation therapy (high-energy rays) and targeted therapy (pills to stop growth/spread of cancerous cells) are two other alternatives. There are also alternative medicinal options — though a doctor should be consulted in these cases.
Image Source: IASLC Lung Cancer News