Did you skip your important meeting due to that constant coughing and chest pain? Are you passing sleepless nights owing to breathing difficulties? Do you find it difficult to concentrate on your work because of that nagging headache? Well, it’s time to consult your doctor as these can be the symptoms of lung cancer. Here’s all you need to know about it.
The lungs are situated in the chest that is behind one’s rib cage and on either side of the heart. Lungs are a vital part of our body. One of the most important functions of the lung is to deliver oxygen to the bloodstream, and then it is circulated to the rest of the body. They also help regulate the acidity in the body. But are you aware that certain habits can take a toll on your lungs? Yes, you have heard it right! Smoking, second-hand smoke, and pollution can raise your risk of lung cancer. It is the need of the hour to treat lung cancer and improve the quality of life. We explain to you what is lung cancer, the symptoms, causes, treatment, and prevention.
What is lung cancer?
A type of cancer that begins in one’s lungs can be called lung cancer. Here, the cells in the lungs divide uncontrollably resulting in the growth of tumors that may invite breathing difficulties in individuals. There are two main types of lung cancer small cell lung cancer that is commonly seen in the people who smoke heavily. Whereas, non-small cell lung cancer is an umbrella term for other lung cancers like squamous cell carcinoma and large cell carcinoma. And the doctor treats you on the basis of the diagnosis (that is the lung cancer you suffer from).
Watch out for these early symptoms?
One may exhibit symptoms like chest pain, hoarseness, breathing problems, coughing up blood, bone pain, loss of appetite, headache, wheezing, bronchitis or pneumonia. Thus, it is essential to notice the symptoms at the right time which can aid further treatment and save one’s life.
The causes you shouldn’t miss
Smoking: It damages the cells that line the lungs and can give a tough time to your lungs. The lung tissue undergoes changes when one inhales the smoke of the cigarettes that contain cancer-causing substances known as carcinogens. Thus, the cells may get damaged and one can suffer from lung cancer.
Secondhand come can also be the culprit: Do you smoke? No? Well, you will be shocked to know that even if you don’t smoke you may still suffer from lung cancer. How? Second-hand smoke can raise your risk of lung cancer too. Passive smoking is dangerous.
Family history: You may get lung cancer if someone in your family has or had it.
Know about the treatment for lung cancer
Once you spot the symptoms it is essential to opt for a proper diagnosis and treatment. If you are diagnosed with lung cancer your doctor will decide the line of treatment based on the location and the stage of cancer. The possible options could be surgery- wherein a doctor may remove the cancerous lung tissue or the surrounding tissues where cancer may have spread. Likewise, chemotherapy and radiation therapy can also be advised. Make sure that you opt for a suitable treatment only after consulting the doctor. Taking over-the-counter medications is a strict no no. Do not self-medicate at all as it is risky.
These preventive measures can help keep lung cancer away
Bids adieu to smoking: According to the World Health Organization, quitting smoking is not only beneficial for your lungs but your overall health as well. Doing so can drop your blood pressure and heart rate. Likewise, it also enhances your circulation and lung function. Not only this, but it may also cut down your risk of lung cancer. What you MUST do? Smoking cessation therapy can be helpful for you.
Say NO to passive smoking: If you have someone around you who smokes than see to it that you stop him from smoking by making him understand the consequences of it. Or you can leave the place wherein people are smoking. Furthermore, avoid going to clubs or places where you easily spot people smoking. Or if you happen to go to crowded places you must see to it that you cover your face.
Watch what you eat: You MUST make sure that you incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet. Opt for a lot of vitamins and minerals. Eat foods that are high in fibres – fruits, cereals and vegetables, and stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water. Opting for ginger, and berries which are jam-packed with antioxidants can be a good idea. Moreover, consult your expert who will suggest you an appropriate diet. Doing so can help keep your lungs in top shape.
BY: Dr.Ramakant Deshpande, Surgical Oncologist, Asian Cancer Institute