Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. Symptoms can be subtle, and it often spreads before it’s discovered. That’s because signs of the disease often don’t show up on X-rays until it’s reached advanced stages. When it comes to lung cancer, prevention is the best defense.
Lung cancer signs & symptoms
- A cough that doesn’t go away and gets worse over time
- Chronic chest pain
- Coughing up blood
- Shortness of breath, wheezing, or hoarseness
- Repeated problems with pneumonia or bronchitis
- Neck or face swelling
- Unexplained weight loss or decreased appetite
- Constant fatigue
Who’s at risk?
- Smokers. Cigarettes, cigars and pipes all put you at risk. And the longer you smoke, the greater the risk.
- Those who regularly inhale second-hand smoke.
- African-Americans. Scientists aren’t sure how race plays a role, but there’s no doubt it does.
- People with a history of tuberculosis, certain types of pneumonia or other diseases that can scar the lungs.
- People overexposed to radon. This invisible, odorless, tasteless gas is found in soil and rocks, and can seep into houses. Talk with your local health department about how you can test your home.
- People who work unprotected with asbestos, breathing in particles that can damage the lungs.
- People exposed to constant air pollution, such as diesel combustion or gasoline fumes.
- Those who’ve already experienced lung cancer.
Possible Treatment Options
- Don’t smoke. It’s never too late to quit. Also, don’t allow others to smoke around you or in your home.
- Exercise regularly, and eat meals rich in fruits and vegetables. There’s evidence a plant-based diet may help prevent the disease.
Unfortunately, there’s no early-detection exam for lung cancer. Regular check-ups and a healthy lifestyle are the best prevention tools. Also don’t hesitate to contact your doctor with any lung-related concerns.
Page last updated on Apr. 06, 2009