What Is Lung Cancer
And How To Prevent It?
And How To Prevent It?
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), lung cancer is the most common and deadliest cancer worldwide. Screening for it can save lives. But the most important action that you can take is to quit smoking.
In this article, we’ll cover what lung cancer is, what causes it, how to prevent it, and the types of treatment available to you
For those who’d like to jump ahead, use the quick links below :
- What is lung cancer?
- What are the symptoms of lung cancer?
- What causes lung cancer?
- What treatments are available?
- How to prevent lung cancer – try these five steps?
- When should you contact your doctor?
If you smoke, live with someone who smokes, or suspect that you may have lung cancer, please contact Welwitschia Hospital on (+264) 64 218 911 to make an appointment at the Namibian Lung Clinic.
1. What is lung cancer?
Cancer occurs when cells in the body change abnormally. This can happen in the lungs or cancer from surrounding organs can spread to the lungs resulting in lung cancer.
Smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer. The longer you smoke, the greater the damage. Your body eventually can no longer repair the damaged cells, resulting in abnormalities and cancer.
There are two types of lung cancer that occur in smokers:
- small cell lung cancer
- non-small cell lung cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.
2. What are the symptoms of lung cancer?
Lung cancer is difficult to detect in the early stages simply because there are no specific signs or symptoms and often lung cancer is already advanced when signs or symptoms occur.
- Pain in your chest
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
- An unexplained cough that won’t go away
- Coughing up blood
- Rapid weight loss (without trying)
- Feeling tired or lethargic all the time
Persistent pneumonia can be a sign of lung cancer. If you’re worried that you’re experiencing some of the symptoms listed above, get in touch with our doctors.
3. What causes lung cancer?
You’ll probably be familiar with many of the below-listed risk factors. Some are more preventable than others. Let’s take a look at six typical causes of lung cancer.
- Smoking. The single most important risk factor to develop lung cancer
- Exposure to second-hand smoke. Some cancer patients have never smoked in their life. But they may have lived or worked closely with someone who has.
- Family history of lung cancer. If you have a parent or sibling with lung cancer, this may increase your chance for lung cancer, too.
- Substances such as asbestos, arsenic, nickel, and chromium. In high doses, all of these substances increase your risk of developing cancer.
- Exposure to radon gas. This natural gas is released from soil, rock, and water. It can get trapped in buildings and being exposed to radon for long periods can adversely affect your body.
- Radiation treatment for cancer patients. While rare, some cancer survivors are at risk of getting lung cancer if they’ve had previous radiation therapy for another cancer.
4. What treatments are available?
There are a range of treatment options for lung cancer patients. Your doctor will determine the best treatment for you, depending on how advanced or aggressive your lung cancer is.
The type of lung cancer that you’re diagnosed with also influences which treatment option you’re given. Small cell lung cancer patients usually receive a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. Non-small cell lung cancer can be treated with any or a combination of the below options:
- Chemotherapy: Using drugs to control the cancer-causing cells
- Immunotherapy: Stimulating your body’s immune system to fight the cancerous cells
- Radiation therapy uses high energy rays from protons and x-rays to destroy the abnormal cells in your lungs.
- Surgery to remove a portion of the unhealthy lung tissue.
5. How to prevent lung cancer—try these five steps
Living a healthy life is the best way to avoid getting sick. You can still get prostate cancer, but your chances are significantly lowered.
Step 1: Don’t smoke
It even warns of the dangers of smoking on the exterior of your cigarette packet, so why do it? If you’ve never smoked, don’t start. If you do smoke, stop. Preferably today. Take care of your body.
Step 2: Avoid second-hand smoke
If your partner smokes or you work with smokers, ask that they smoke outside your building. Second-hand smoke can be as deadly as first-hand smoke.
Step 3: Eat a healthy balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables
Your body craves goodness, so feed it a variety of vegetables and fruit. We also advise that you don’t take supplements. If you do, limit these to a small dose.
Step 4: Book a lung health check with your doctor
Book a lung health check with your doctor if you have smoked or still smoke, and are between 50-80 years old.
Step 5: Exercise
A strong body has a better chance of fighting disease than an unhealthy one. So make sure you’re exercising regularly.
6. When should you contact your doctor?
We recommend that you contact your doctor if you experience chest pain, shortness of breath or wheezing, an unexplained cough that won’t go away, coughing up blood, rapid weight loss, feeling tired or lethargic all the time.
Contact Welwitschia Hospital on (+264) 64 218 911 or email email@example.com, and we’ll arrange for you to see any one of our highly qualified doctors.
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