Lung Cancer Symptoms: Typically, Lung cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the lungs. Lungs are two spongy organs in the chest that take in oxygen during inhaling and exhaling carbon dioxide.
Despite the tobacco warnings and the deadly pollution rate in Delhi and other states in India, lung cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths. Among both men and women, lung cancer claims more lives each year than do colon, prostate, ovarian and breast cancers combined.
People who smoke have the greatest risk of lung cancer, though lung cancer can also occur in people who have never smoked. The risk involves the non-smokers too. The risk of lung cancer increases with the length of time.
Smoking by evidence is the biggest reason for lung cancer. The number of cigarettes you’ve smoked turns directly proportional to the disease you invite unto life. If you quit smoking, even after smoking for many years, you can significantly reduce your chances of developing lung cancer.
The worst part of lung cancer is it typically doesn’t show it’s true signs and symptoms in its earliest stages.
Signs and symptoms of lung cancer do occur only when the disease is advanced.
Signs and symptoms of lung cancer may include:
- Persistent cough.
- Unexplained loss of appetite and weight.
- Coughing up blood or rust-coloured phlegm.
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Feeling weak and/or tired.
- Bronchitis, pneumonia or other infections that keep recurring.
Though we aren’t aware of the true reason behind lung cancer, the estimated and the research records prove the same. It is very important to see a doctor. Discovering lung cancer early may mean more treatment options are available. This does allow scope for eradicating cancer, mostly but the tractions do remain.
Neurological changes: The problem with any cancer is that the central nervous system is easily affected and leads to the formation of cysts in the brain. This may lead to severe headaches or even seizures.
Numbness or weakness in the arms and legs may occur if a large tumour begins to press against a nerve.
Lumps: In advanced stages, cancer has the highest tendency to spread throughout the lymph nodes. Sometimes, tumours near the skin surface may appear as lumps too.
There is more to cancer, the symptoms of metastasis are far severe.
- If cancer has spread to the bones, it may cause bone pain, often in the vertebrae or ribs. The symptoms don’t stop at that. It includes fractures, constipation or decreased alertness due to high calcium levels.
- If the liver is affected, symptoms may include nausea, extreme fatigue, increased abdominal girth, swelling of the feet and hands due to fluid collection, and yellowing or itchy skin.
- If either the brain or spinal cord is affected, symptoms may include headache, blurred or double vision, difficulty with speech or seizures.
- To add on,
Though the diagnosis helps you treat the disease, lung cancer shows up in the advanced stages. Hence almost it is very important to see a doctor before the minute problem leads to severe disease.
Discuss your lung cancer risk with your doctor. Together you can decide whether lung cancer screening is right for you.
If there’s a reason to think that you may have lung cancer, your doctor can order a number of tests to look for cancerous cells and to rule out other conditions.
Besides this, there are two more symptoms to diagnose without blunder,
- Horner syndrome: Tumors may possibly cause nerve damage. Horner syndrome is a particular set of symptoms associated with nerve damage. The symptoms often affect one side of the face, causing a droopy eyelid and a reduction in the size of the pupil (the dark centre of the eye).Paraneoplastic syndromes: Cancer cells may make chemicals that trigger other reactions, which are collectively referred to as paraneoplastic syndromes. Symptoms may include high blood calcium levels (hypercalcemia), excess bone growth or blood clots.
Doctor’s take firmer calls for surgery or chemotherapy upon the X-ray image of your lung. It may reveal an abnormal mass or nodule. A CT scan can reveal small lesions in your lungs that might not be detected on an X-ray.
If a person is suffering from cough and is producing sputum, looking at the sputum under the microscope can sometimes reveal the presence of lung cancer cells.
A tissue sample (biopsy).
A sample of abnormal cells may be removed in a procedure called a biopsy.
Today’s doctors can perform a biopsy in a number of ways, including bronchoscopy. Bronchoscopy is in which your doctor examines abnormal areas of your lungs using a lighted tube that’s passed down the throat. Following into your lungs;
Mediastinoscopy, is another test in which an incision is made at the base of your neck and surgical tools are inserted behind your breastbone to take tissue samples from lymph nodes; and needle biopsy, in which your doctor uses X-ray or CT images to guide a needle through your chest wall and into the lung tissue to collect suspicious cells.
Based on the stage of cancer, the doctor and the patient choose a cancer treatment plan. It is also based on a number of factors, such as your overall health, the type and stage of your cancer, and your preferences.
In some cases, you may choose not to undergo treatment. For instance, you may feel that the side effects of treatment will outweigh the potential benefits. When that’s the case, your doctor may suggest comfort care to treat only the symptoms the cancer is causing, such as pain or shortness of breath.
During surgery, your surgeon works to remove lung cancer and a margin of healthy tissue. Procedures to remove lung cancer include:
- Wedge resection to remove a small section of lung that contains the tumour along with a margin of healthy tissue
- Segmental resection to remove a larger portion of the lung, but not an entire lobe
- Lobectomy to remove the entire lobe of one lung
- Pneumonectomy to remove an entire lung
The thing about radiation therapy is that it uses high-powered energy beams from sources such as X-rays and protons to kill cancer cells. During radiation therapy, you lie on a table while a machine moves around you, directing radiation to precise points on your body.
For people with locally advanced lung cancer, radiation may be used before surgery or after surgery. It’s often combined with chemotherapy treatments. If surgery isn’t an option, combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be your primary treatment.
For advanced lung cancers and those that have spread to other areas of the body, radiation therapy may help relieve symptoms, such as pain.