In the United States, lung cancer is and remains the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women even though an extensive list of risk factors has been well-characterized. The most important cause of lung cancer is exposure to tobacco smoke through active or passive smoking. The reductions in smoking is prevalent in men that occurred in the late 1960s through the 1980s and it will continue to drive the lung cancer mortality rates downward in men throughout this century.
Coughing: This includes a persistent cough that doesn't go away or changes to a chronic "smoker's cough,” such as more coughing or pain.
Coughing up blood: Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum (spit or phlegm) should always be discussed with your doctor.
Breathing difficulties: Shortness of breath, wheezing or noisy breathing (called stridor) may all be signs of lung cancer.
Loss of appetite: Many cancers cause changes in appetite, which may lead to unintended weight loss.
Fatigue: It is common to feel weak or excessively tired.
Recurring infections: Recurring infections, like bronchitis or pneumonia, may be one of the signs of lung cancer.
Surgery is the removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue during an operation by a surgical oncologist
Adjuvant therapy is treatment that is given after surgery to lower the risk of the lung cancer returning. Adjuvant therapy may include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or immunotherapy.
- Radiation therapy- the treatment of disease, especially cancer, using X-rays or similar forms of radiation.
- Chemotherapy- Surgery and radiation therapy to remove, kill, or damage cancer cells in a certain area, but Chemotherapy can work throughout the whole body
- Targeted therapy- Cancer treatment that uses drugs. However, it is different from traditional chemotherapy. The drugs known as targeted therapy help stop cancer from growing and spreading. They work by targeting specific genes or proteins within the cell.
- Immunotherapy- is the prevention or treatment of disease with substances that stimulate the immune response.
What can I do to reduce the risk?
- Don't smoke, and if you do try to quit as early as possible
- Avoid any passive smoking. Just because you are not smoking, does not mean that you are not are not at risk
- Test your home for Radon*
- Avoid Carcinogens
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Exercise daily
Any and all of these actions can reduce your risk of receiving lung cancer.
*Radon is a radioactive gas released from the normal decay of the elements uranium, thorium, and radium in rocks and soil. It is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that seeps up through the ground and diffuses into the air. In a few areas, depending on local geology, radon dissolves into ground water and can be released into the air when the water is used. Radon gas usually exists at very low levels outdoors. However, in areas without adequate ventilation, such as underground mines, radon can accumulate to levels that substantially increase the risk of lung cancer.
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