Catching Lung Cancer Early Could Save Your Life
Lung cancer is among the most common forms of cancer and it is often deadly. These are the early symptoms of lung cancer that you should not ignore.
Although the American Cancer Society reports that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer related death among both males and females in the United States, your prognosis improves dramatically if you catch the disease in its early stages. Your odds of fighting the tumors and recovering from the disease are quite a bit higher if you detect it in its early stages.
Since early detection is so important to survival, it’s crucial to know the early warning signs and symptoms to look for.
Why Early Diagnosis Matters
Detecting lung cancer in its initial stage is difficult. Usually, lung cancer doesn’t express obvious symptoms until it progresses beyond the early stages. A lack of early detection is one of the main reasons why so many people die from the disease.
However, if diagnosed early, the chances of survival are relatively high. According to the American Lung Association, detecting lung cancer with methods like CT scans can reduce your mortality risk by up to 20 percent.
If lung cancer develops unnoticed and continues to progress, the prognosis rapidly deteriorates. The American Lung Association observes that within five years, only 18.6 percent of patients are able to survive.
Only 16 percent of lung cancer patients detect the disease at its initial stages, so it’s crucial to observe changes in your health that could signal lung cancer.
Look for These Lung Cancer Symptoms
You should stay on top of your health in order to detect lung cancer in its earliest stage. Even though lung cancer express its symptoms gradually, you should keep a close eye for the following symptoms that can be linked to lung cancer:
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Feeling weak or tired
- Shortness of breath
- A worsening cough that’s new but persistent
- Blood-producing cough
- Pain in the chest, back or shoulder while laughing or coughing
- Lung infections
Strange Symptoms of Lung Cancer
In addition to the above mentioned symptoms, lung cancer can also cause some seemingly strange symptoms to occur in the body:
- Fat fingertips – tumors push blood and fluid to your fingertips which make them look fatter than normal.
- Hypercalcemia – 20 percent of people with lung cancer get too much calcium build up in the blood which results in stomach aches and constipation.
- Losing balance – small cell lung cancer can cause your nervous system to be attacked by your immune system. This results in poor balance and a wobbly feeling.
- Horner syndrome – small cell lung cancer can result in this eye condition that causes poor vision and droopy eyelids.
You should to know whether you’re considered high-risk for lung cancer. Various factors can increase the chances of developing lung cancer, some of which are:
- Smoking – a history of smoking is undoubtedly the number one risk factor for lung cancer. Years and years of exposure to the carcinogens in cigarette smoke takes its toll on the body and often leads to lung cancer.
- Passive smoke – prolonged exposure to second hand smoke can be just as dangerous as being a smoker yourself. Many people who worked in a smoke filled environment will find themselves developing lung cancer later in life.
- Radon exposure – Radon is a chemical which has been linked to lung cancer development. Radon is a widely known carcinogen.
- History of lung cancer (personal or family) – there is some evidence to suggest that certain people are more likely to develop lung cancer due to genetics.
- Asbestos exposure – workplace exposure to asbestos is another leading risk factor for developing lung cancer. If this asbestos exposure is combined with a history of smoking, the odds of being diagnosed are increased even further.
- Previous cancer diagnosis – if you have been diagnosed with another form of cancer and have undergone radiation therapy, you will have an increased risk of developing lung cancer.
If you observe any or some of the symptoms of lung cancer, you must consult your doctor as soon as you can. As said before, initial stages of lung cancer don’t result in obvious symptoms, meaning that you could live for years without knowing cancer is there.
Be sure to speak with your doctor if you’re noticing any of these variations in your health. It’s advisable to be cautious and informed. The single best thing you can do for your health is get tested if you find any of these symptoms developing. Far fewer people would die each year from lung cancer if they detected it in its early stages. Remember, lung cancer can be treated in its early stages, but if you don’t begin treatment until it has progressed the odds of recovery are quite low.
Catching lung cancer in its early stage could save your life.