Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer, as well as one of the most common cancers in general.
Alcohol consumption increases the risk.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in men and women; About one in four deaths from cancer is due to lung cancer. Each year, more people die from lung cancer than from cancers of the colon, breast and prostate.
Lung cancer mainly occurs in the elderly. About two out of every three people diagnosed with lung cancer are 65 years of age or older; while less than 2% are under 45 years old. The average age at the time of diagnosis is approximately 70 years, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Smokers and non-smokers.
In general, the probability that a man suffers from lung cancer in the course of his life is approximately 1 in 14; for a woman, the risk is 1 in 17. These numbers include both smokers and non-smokers.
For smokers the risk is much higher, while for non-smokers the risk is lower.
Black men are about 20% more likely to get lung cancer compared to white men. The rate is approximately 10% lower in women of the black race than in women of the white race.
Both black women and white women have lower rates compared to men, although the difference is narrowing. The rate of lung cancer has decreased in men during the last decades, but in women this has only happened in the last ten years or so.
The statistics on survival in people with lung cancer depend on the stage (extent) of the disease at the time of diagnosis.
Although the prognosis of lung cancer is very serious, some people with cancers in earlier stages are cured. More than 430,000 people living today have been diagnosed with lung cancer at some time in their lives.
And according to the American Cancer Society, up to 20 percent of people with lung cancer say they do not smoke, which means that second-hand smoke, environmental factors or genetic mutations may have triggered their onset.
With probabilities like those, in which even without smoking you can get sick, it is very important that you know the common signs of lung cancer and consult the doctor immediately.
1- Persistent cough
A common cold or other respiratory illness can cause you to cough, but only for a week or two. If your cough continues for a month or more you should go to the doctor and examine yourself. In addition, you should inform the doctor if you repeatedly become ill and each disease directly affects the breast.
2- Abnormal respiration or wheezing.
Patients with lung cancer usually notice a change in breathing. Having difficulty breathing or difficulty breathing after activities you normally find easy suggests that you have a problem that you should evaluate.
3- Hoarse voice.
Lung cancer can begin to press on the nerve that controls the larynx. When that happens, you will notice a change in your voice, like an aphonia or hoarseness. You should take note if the change lasts more than two weeks and notify your doctor about this symptom.
4- Unexplained weight loss.
Have you lost weight without dieting or exercising too much? Although weight loss without effort could excite you, it could mean a deeper problem and needs your doctor’s evaluation. Along with any of the other symptoms already mentioned, weight loss can directly result in lung cancer.
5- Back pain.
Finally, a lesser known sign of lung cancer is a deep pain in the bones or joints. Many feel a sharp pain in the back or hips, and the pain may get worse during the night.
Once some of these symptoms are detected, your doctor should tell you about other tests. A simple x-ray may not reveal the disease in its early stages, but a low-dose CT scan will scan your body while low doses of radiation will create detailed images of your lungs.
If the results of the scan seem abnormal, your doctor may order a tissue sample (biopsy) to confirm the diagnosis. You can also recommend a sputum test to see if there are cancer cells there.
The next step after diagnosis is to determine the extent of lung cancer.
The treatment will depend to a large extent on the type and stage of lung cancer. For non-small cell lung cancer, the doctor may recommend a variety or combination of treatments:
Surgery: Doctors will work to remove the cancer and may need to remove tissue or part of the lung at later stages. The specialists often work together in these cases. You will probably have difficulty breathing after lung surgery.
Targeted therapy: You may be able to take these medications along with the chemotherapy. The medications focus on the abnormalities of the cancer cells and your doctor may need more tests to make sure the therapy helps.
Radiation: This method uses high doses of X-ray radiation or another source to kill cancer cells.
Chemotherapy: you will be prescribed oral or IV medications that will kill the cancer cells. Chemotherapy is often used in combination with any of the above treatments.
For small cell lung cancer, you are likely to receive radiation therapy and chemotherapy as the main treatment. In any case, you can also choose to participate in clinical trials.