Signs of lung cancer are like lampposts – with the lights on. If you’re wary about it, you may still have a good chance of containing the metastasis. And the eventual demise of the patient. It’s no joke. Lung cancer is the #1 killer cancer for men all over the world. For women, the top spot goes to breast cancer with lung cancer playing second fiddle. The worse part is most of those people diagnosed with lung cancer are bound to live a shorter life – succumbing to the disease eventually. It’s an ugly scenario that gets even uglier in developing countries. The United States is luckier. Americans affected with lung carcinoma are more likely to survive longer than their Asian counterpart.
Yes, it’s sad. Smoking plays a huge role in the development of lung cancer. And whether you like it or not, it’s something that you should be accepting. To learn your lesson from. Without doing so, you could be repeating the mistakes of the past. You see, a whopping 85 percent of lung cancer cases are caused by tobacco smoking. Long-term tobacco smoking to be exact. The funny thing is lung cancer isn’t really that hard to prevent. Come to think of it. But of course, if you’re a smoker, it’s a totally different story. And you might as well know the signs of lung cancer. For your own good. Read on.
The Grim Reaper
Lung cancer is like any other cancer. It is characterized by abnormal cell growth in the lung tissues. Dubbed also as lung carcinoma, cancer can affect different parts of the body – spreading by way of metastasis. Today, there are 2 types of lung cancer. One is the SCLC or small-cell lung carcinoma. Then there’s the NSCLC or non-small-cell lung carcinoma.
However you look at it, lung cancer is a dreadful disease – perhaps more than any other cancer in the world. Global statistics detail how lung cancer needlessly claims millions of lives every year. In 2012 alone, there were 1.8 million people affected by the disease. Of this, over 1.6 million people died – succumbing to lung cancer in the process. That’s a lot of deaths, to put it mildly.
Because of its high incidence, lung cancer is the #1 cause of death for all cancer-related cases for men. If not for breast cancer, lung carcinoma may well be the top type of cancer for women. Usually, it is at 70 years old when people usually find about the disease. Unfortunately, it may be too late at that time. The older the patient, the lesser the chances of surviving.
Signs of Lung Cancer You Shouldn’t Miss
The bad news is lung cancer is a tricky disease. More often than not, you won’t get any symptoms, at least not until the carcinoma has spread. Sneaky right? Still, some people who have early lung cancer could manifest symptoms. At an early stage, cancer treatment may still be effective. The following are some of the most common symptoms of the disease:
1. Pesky cough
Usual coughs can be easily treated. However, when you’re noticing your coughing doesn’t go away, then perhaps it’s high time you take things more seriously. And ask your doctor’s opinion.
2. Swallowing issues
It’s highly-likely, people with lung cancer will have trouble putting food down from the mouth. This is called dysphagia, a medical term which simply refers to the difficulty in swallowing. You might think it’s an easy mechanical action, but truly the act of swallowing involves a complex interaction of different body parts. From the pharynx to the esophagus. The hard part is dysphagia could create life-threatening as there is a risk of inhalation of foods and liquids into the lungs.
3. Persistent chest pains
Another key symptom is recurring chest pains. Which more often than not include the shoulders and the back. The sad part is this aching feeling has nothing to do with coughing. When this happens, the pain may result from swelling of the lymph nodes as cancer is spreading to the chest walls. In a process called metastasis. It’s chilling, to say the least.
4. Drastic loss of weight
This is another sign a patient is stricken with lung cancer. First up, there is anorexia, which is the medical term for loss of appetite. That will entail weight loss as the body loses in touch with key nutrients for its development. To make matters worse is cachexia or the marked weakness caused by the disease which spurs malnutrition-related weight loss. Together these two complications form CACS or cancer anorexia-cachexia syndrome. About half of all these cancer patients will experience CACS with approximately 60 percent losing substantial pounds.
5. Persistent headache
As cancer spreads, eventually it will affect the nervous system. That’s where the headaches and all nervous-system problems surface from out of nowhere. These include numbness of certain parts of the body – usually an arm or a leg and unexplained dizziness. Also, seizures could follow.
6. Persistent bone pain
This is another symptom telling the patient that cancer has spread to the spinal cord and the skeletal system. That it’s persistent is telling you that the cancer is actively spreading in a nightmarish process called metastasis.
Various Causes of Lung Cancer
There’s no denying the fact. Lung cancer and smoking are two sides of the same coin. A lot of smokers will deny it. Many won’t even care about it. But statistics show a vast majority of lung cancer patients, a whopping 85 percent of them, are long-term tobacco smokers. That should be telling.
Recent stats are even more chilling. World Health Organization data shows tobacco claims over 7 million people every year. Over 6 million of those affected are direct tobacco users. While close to a million of the total number are non-smokers exposed to the horrors of second-hand smoking.
It’s reason enough why the tobacco epidemic is considered to be one of the biggest threat to humanity. Today, there are over 1.1 billion smokers globally. Most of them living in poor countries. Surely, it pays to know the signs of lung cancer.