8 Symptoms Of Lung Cancer And Ways To Reduce The Risk Of The Disease

Date February 15, 2018

Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer affecting all people and the most common type of cancer affecting men. The disease accounts for about 13 percent of all new cancer cases in the United States and is the biggest killer among all types of cancer (one of the other deadliest types of cancer is pancreatic cancer). Needless to say, one of the most common causes and risk factors for developing the disease is smoking. About 9 in 10 of all lung cancer cases are caused by smoking. Other factors, including family history of the disease and workplace exposure to cancer-causing substances, also increase the risk of lung cancer.

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Like many other types of cancer, lung cancer usually produces no symptoms until later stages. If it is found early, it usually happens during a routine chest X-ray. It has good chances of being cured if detected at an early stage.

Symptoms of lung cancer

Lung cancer usually doesn’t show symptoms in its early stages. As the disease progresses, the following symptoms may start to appear:

  • persistent cough;
  • coughing up blood and/or phlegm;
  • shortness of breath;
  • wheezing;
  • chest pain, which may be worse when you inhale deeply, cough, or laugh;
  • hoarse voice;
  • feeling weak and tired;
  • decreased appetite.

See your doctor as soon as possible if you have such symptoms. They may not be caused by lung cancer, but still warrant a professional evaluation.

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Risk factors for developing lung cancer

There is a number of factors that are known to raise the risk of lung cancer. They include the following:

  • smoking – the longer you smoke and the more cigarettes you smoke, the higher your chances of getting lung cancer are;
  • prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke;
  • exposure to radon;
  • exposure to asbestos;
  • having a close blood relative who has or had lung cancer;
  • living in an area affected by industrial air pollution (more common in developing countries);
  • older age – the average age of those diagnosed with the disease is 70;
  • having chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - an umbrella term for emphysema and chronic bronchitis;
  • workplace exposure to diesel exhaust and other harmful chemicals.

How to lower the risk of developing lung cancer

The most important thing you can do to reduce the risk of lung cancer is not smoke. If you smoke and find it hard to quit, ask your doctor about methods that can help you do that. Even if you have smoked for a long time, you can still lower the risk of the disease if you choose to quit.

Here are some other measures you can take to reduce the risk of the disease:

  • avoid secondhand smoke and urge people who live with you to quit if they smoke;
  • have your home checked for the presence of radon;
  • take necessary precautions at work to minimize your exposure to cancer-causing substances;
  • eat a healthful diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and exercise regularly to improve your overall health and reduce the risk of lung and other cancers.

Source: MedicineNet, Mayo Clinic, MedicalNewsToday, HealthLine

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This article is purely for informational purposes. Do not self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information stated in the article.