Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world and is the leading cause of cancer-related death. Lung cancer is an aggressive disease that begins in the lungs and can spread to lymph nodes or other organs in the body — including the brain. Cancer that originates in other organs can also make its way — or metastasize — to the lungs. Lung cancers are grouped into two types: small cell and non-small cell carcinomas. These types grow much differently than one another, making the treatment of each very different.
Risk Factors for Developing Lung Cancer
Decades of research indicate that there are several risk factors that increase the chances of developing lung cancer. These risk factors include:
- Smoking — cigarettes, cigars, pipes, vapes, and e-cigarettes.
- Exposure to secondhand smoke of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, vapes, and e-cigarettes.
- Radon exposure
- Radiation treatment on the chest
- Exposure to asbestos, arsenic, diesel exhaust, silica, or chromium
- Exposure to toxic fumes and gases — fire, burn pits, etc.
- Family history of lung cancer
- History or presence of cancer somewhere else in the body
To reduce your risk of developing lung cancer, you should avoid smoking and quit if you are a current smoker — yes, even of vapes. Avoid secondhand smoke from other people’s smoke. If you are exposed to toxins, chemicals, fumes, or smoke at work, wear protective equipment to avoid irritating lung tissues. Have your home tested for radon to reduce your chances of exposure. If you meet any of the above risk factors, early screening and detection is the key to successful treatment and reducing the impact of the disease on the rest of your body.
Symptoms of Lung Cancer
While some people have different symptoms of lung cancer, there are some related signs and symptoms that are cause for concern and you should consider having evaluated. Keep in mind that some people experience no initial symptoms while others may experience all of these symptoms while suffering the common cold. It is always a good idea to consult with your provider for screening if you experience:
- Chronic cough that does not improve
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath, with or without activity
- Wheezing, with or without coughing or mucus
- Coughing up blood or pink-tinged sputum
- Unintentional weight loss
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Repeat respiratory infections
The Good News About Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death and continues to top the deadliest-cancers list. While a lung cancer diagnosis may be scary, there is good news! Lung cancer rates have been declining since the late 1990s. Since more places prohibit smoking, especially inside, fewer people are making the choice to smoke and fewer people are exposed to secondhand smoke. With more awareness and medical advances, early detection and treatment are improving outcomes of lung cancer and allowing people to live longer, healthier lives.
How Integra Health Can Help With Your Lung Cancer
At Integra Health, we believe in doing all we can to support the well being and health of those in our community. Dr. Xuanha White would be happy to help you understand what is happening within your body, as well as offer recommended treatment and care. Together, our pulmonary team can help you better understand lung cancer and how to move forward with your life while treating and managing lung cancer.
With nearly a decade in the pulmonary industry, our skilled staff stays up-to-date on the latest technology and medical studies to provide the evidence-based treatments for the best possible outcome for our patients. We promise to treat you with care and understanding, ensuring that you fully understand your treatment each and every time you visit us. Contact our Temecula office today to schedule your appointment.