Cancer is a disease which occurs due to the abnormal uncontrolled growth of body cells. The abnormal growth of the cells can result in tumor or lump in the body. Cancer can produce symptoms at the local site of tumor growth or systemic symptoms. Knowing the Lung cancer or lung cancer risk factor depends on your overall health status, symptoms that you suffer from and the confirmation of diagnosis based on the investigations done. How Do I Know That I Have Lung Cancer??
Symptoms of Lung Cancer
There are many symptoms of Lung cancer but lung can be confirmed on the basis of investigation done by the doctor.
1.Weakness: The person who was able to walk normally or perform routine functions develops easy fatigueness, tiredness, and constant weakness.
2.Respiratory Problems: Person frequently develops infections of respiratory systems or develops infections which are difficult to treat. This occurs because of the reduced immunity of the person to fight against infections.
3.A chronic Cough: Patient of lung cancer develops a chronic cough. That means a constant cough.
4. Bleeding in a cough: Patients may find blood in his/her sputum. This condition is known as hemoptysis.
5.Loss of Appetite: Patient of lung cancer like other cancer loses appetite.
6.Weight Loss: There is unexplained weight loss in patients with cancer.
7.Chest Pain: Patients may develop chest pain which is more severe during breathing or coughing.
8. Change in the quality of voice: Patients may develop hoarseness of voice.
9. Swelling Over Body: In the advanced cases, there could be swelling on the arms, legs, and face. Sometimes, Patients ignore these symptoms assuming that they are because of other respiratory illness. Multiplication of cancer cells inside the body will result in further complications; hence it is important to rule out other diseases. If you have above symptoms, you should immediately consult an expert who can diagnose lung cancer by ruling out other possible causes of such symptoms.
Image -CDC Global
Lung Cancer Risk Factor
Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer across the world and in India. There is no fixed single cause for the development of Lung cancer. There are several Lung cancer risk factor have observed. Lung Cancer Risk Factor can be divided into two categories-Modifiable risk factors and Non-modifiable risk factor. Modifiable risk factors are those which can be changed by some intervention whereas non-modifiable risk factors cannot be changed. Following is the list of Lung cancer risk factors ( both modifiable and non-modifiable) for the development of Lung Cancer.
1.Modifiable Risk Factors:
- Tobacco smoking: Tobacco smoke contains thousands of chemicals of which several are known to cause cancer. Smoking is the most important,i.e. the number one risk factor for the development of lung cancer. The risk depends on the no. of cigarettes/Biddis smoke and the duration of smoking. Every cigarette increases the risk of lung cancer.
If the number and duration of smoking are high, then the risk is also higher for lung cancer. It is generally seen that up to 80-85% patients who develop lung cancer are either current smokers or provide the history of smoking in the past. Smoking can damage the DNA and also reduce the strength of the immune system. Smoking is not the only lung cancer risk factor but it can be hazardous to overall health.
- Passive smoking: Passive smoking also known as second-hand smoking can cause lung cancer. The lung cancer risk factor in non-smoker who frequently exposed to passive smoking is 20-30% higher compared to non-smoker who have not been exposed to passive smoking.
- Occupational Exposure: Similarly, risk factors such as occupational exposure to carcinogens(the chemical which causes cancer eg- asbestos, processing of steel, nickel, chrome and coal gas, exposure to other air pollutants) can increase the risk of lung cancer.
- Radon Exposure: Radon, naturally occurring in radioactive gas a risk factor for lung cancer. Radon is a result of the breakdown of uranium in the soil. The gas is tasteless and odorless making it difficult to know the exposure to it. Radon exposure is one of the important causes of Lung cancer among non-smokers.
- Arsenic in Drinking water: Studies in some parts of the world have shown that people drinking water rich in arsenic have a higher risk of lung cancer.
- Exposure to radiations.
- Immunocompromized status i.e. weak immunity.
- Air Pollution.
Above Lung Cancer, Risk Factor suggests that lung cancer can occur even in people who do not actively smoke tobacco. Efforts should be done to find out modifiable risk factors and avoid or minimize exposure to these agents.
2. Non-modifiable Risk Factors: There are some non-modifiable risk factors which can not control or change. Having presence of such non-modifiable risk could be the reason for lung cancer in non-smokers. There are non-modifiable lung cancer risk factors are as follows –
- Genetics: Some genetic factors increase the risk of lung cancer in non-smokers.
- Personal or family history of lung cancer – If a person has a past history of lung cancer, then the risk of developing another lunger cancer is higher. People with a family history of lung cancer may have a higher risk of lung cancer, especially if the family was diagnosed with lung cancer at an early stage.
- Past history of Radiation: People who have received radiation therapy to the chest region for other cancer have a higher risk for lung cancer.
- Previous history of lungs diseases.
Some patients with lung cancers have multiple risk factor. It is strongly recommended that smokers should quit smoking to reduce the risk of lung cancer development. Similarly, exposure to second-hand smoke i.e. passive smoker should be avoided.
Treatment For Lung Cancer
The major treatment options for lung cancer are surgical treatment, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. The treatment of choice for particular patients depends on several factors including tumor-related factors. Tumor factors include the size of the tumor, the position of the tumor and whether the tumor is present at the local site or spread in the other organ.
- Surgical Treatment of Lung Cancer: The objective of surgical treatment is to completely remove the tumor from a lung. Along with the tumor, the adjacent lymph nodes are also removed. Different types of surgeries are performed for remove the tumor including Lobectomy (removing the entire lobe of the lungs), Segmentectomy (Removing part of the lung where the tumor is located), Wedge Surgery( Removing tumor along with some healthy lung tissues). Sometimes the entire lung needs to be removed. This procedure is called pneumonectomy.
- Radiotherapy: In this therapy, high energy X-rays are used to destroy the cancer cells. Radiotherapy is given by specialist known as a radiation oncologist. It is also not suitable if cancer has spread to multiple parts of the body. Radiotherapy can damage the healthy cells around the tumor, resulting in risk of adverse effect. Patients receiving the radiotherapy face adverse effects like – weakness and loss of appetite. If radiation therapy is given to the chest or neck region, patients may also experience respiratory symptoms and swallowing difficulty.
- Chemotherapy: In this method of treatment, the patient is given medicine to destroy the cancer cells. The medicine helps to stop the ability of cancer cells to multiply. Chemotherapy is given by specialist known as a medical oncologist. Chemotherapy can also result in the side effects which depends on the patient characters(Age, general health of patients). Newer therapy known as Targeted therapy is now available which act only at the specific site which is responsible for cancer. Being specific for cancer cells, this treatment limits the destruction of healthy cells offering an advantage over other chemotherapy.
- Adjuvant therapy: Adjuvant therapy is given to reduce the risk of recurrence and or to improve the general health of the patient.
I am sure that after reading this article, you will have complete information about lung cancer risk factor, symptoms of lung cancer as well as available therapy to treat lung cancer or cancer.
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