Although early stage lung cancer is treatable, its death rate remains the highest for the most part because early detection is elusive. Most lung cancers rarely cause symptoms until it spreads beyond a cure.
This fact alone is why it is crucial for you to have your symptoms addressed immediately upon first notice. Diagnosis and treatment while lung cancer is in a curable stage gives rise to a hopeful oncologist.
The group of symptoms that should have you running, not walking, to your physician, especially if you’re a smoker over 65, are:
- weight loss
- appetite loss
- coughing up blood
- neck, face swelling
- shortness of breath
- constant chest pain
- cough that gets worse
- cough that doesn’t go away
- repeated pneumonia, bronchitis
Many of these symptoms have a myriad of other lung condition causes, yet its best to have this deadliest form of cancer checked off your list of possible suspects.
Cause for lung cancer, or any cancer for that matter, remains inexplicable. However, your risk increases for lung cancer if:
- family/personal history
- use tobacco smoke ~ leading risk
- air pollution ~ may slightly increase the risk
- over age 65 ~ most diagnosed are over this age
- asbestos, arsenic, chromium, nickel, soot, tar, other substances
- radon ~ radioactive gas that you cannot see, smell, taste damages lung cells
Lung cancer cough, shortness of breath and coughing up blood symptoms are essentially brought to you in two forms, small cell and non small cell lung cancer. (Technically there are some other rare forms not discussed.)
Up to 15% of all lung cancers are the small cell lung cancer, other names include oat cell carcinoma and small cell undifferentiated carcinoma. This type starts in the bronchi near the center of the chest.
Small cell lung cancer has the tendency to spread throughout the body early in its course. Some characteristics of this lung cancer is it multiplies quickly, forms large tumors, spreads to lymph nodes and spreads to other organs, such as:
Surgery for small cell lung cancer is most often not an option and it is very rarely found in non-smokers.
The remaining cases of lung cancers are non-small cell lung cancer. 3 subtypes differentiated by the size of their cells include:
- squamous cell carcinoma ~ 25-30% of all lung cancers, often linked to smoking history, tend to be found mid-lung near a bronchus
- adenocarcinoma ~ 40% of lung cancers, usually in the outer region of lungs, tends to have best prognosis
- large-cell (undifferentiated) carcinoma ~ 10-15%, found in any part of the lung, tends to grow and spread quickly making treatment difficult
A recent study suggests that eating foods rich in flavonoids (fruits, veggies, tea) helps protect smokers from lung cancer. The most effective flavonoids appeared to be:
- quercetin ~ beans, onions, apples
- kaempferol ~ brussels sprouts, apples
- catechin ~ strawberries, green tea, black teas
Once again, consuming a healthy diet, consisting predominately vegetables, scores high in reducing your cancer risks all over your fabulously designed body. Before you take your next fork full, stop and consider the pains of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
Stop insisting that food needs to be a pleasure, and start making choices based on health maintenance. Opt for that painfully free healthy choice.