Lung Cancer

Early signs and symptoms of lung cancer in smokers and non-smokers

Overview :

Lung cancer is the carcinoma of lungs which most commonly occur in the form of small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. 
It is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Most commonly occurs in smokers- active or passive.

Small cell lung cancer: it occurs most commonly in heavy smokers only, and this cancer is less common than non-small cell lung cancer.

Non-small cell lung cancer: it is the combined term used for different types of lung cancers. It includes squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, large cell carcinoma.

In the year 2018, India has estimated around 1.16 million new cancer cases in which there were approximately 49,000 cases of lung cancer in men only.

Causes of lung cancer:

Around 80% of lung cancer is caused by active smoking, and the other cases are of passive smoking.

⦁    Regular smoking: 

Cigarettes contain carcinogens which can affect the body’s immune system. Also, it contains nicotine which causes dependency or habit.

⦁    Close contact with a smoker/ passive smoking:

Second-Hand smoking can increase the chances of cancer to occur by 20-30%.

⦁    Smoker exposed to any kind of radiation:

Cigarettes also contain radioactive particles present in tobacco. These radiation particles can settle in the smoker’s lung and keep building up as long as the smoker smokes.

⦁    Smoker exposed to any risk factor such as radon or asbestos:
These risk factors can irritate the lungs in several different ways which can lead to the risk of occurring lung cancer.

Other causes:

⦁    Air pollution can also be a cause of lung cancer.

⦁    Gene mutations.


Signs and symptoms of lung cancer in smokers and non-smokers:

The signs and symptoms of lung cancer will remain the same for both smokers and non-smokers

⦁    Cough.

⦁    A persistent and heavy cough that never goes away comes under the most common lung cancer symptoms.

⦁    Hemoptysis.

⦁    It is known as the blood in the cough or phlegm.

⦁    Chest pain.

⦁    There is continuous pain in the chest of a person who has lung cancer.

⦁    Also, there is an increase in chest pain with deep breathing can be lung cancer symptoms.

⦁    Discomfort in the chest.

⦁    There is a discomfort in the chest.

⦁    Wheezing.

⦁    It is known as breathing with a whistling sound in the chest.

⦁    Shortness of breath.

⦁    Difficulty in taking long and deep breaths is a sign and symptom of lung cancer.

⦁    Loss of appetite.

⦁    Fatigue.

⦁    Always feeling tired or weak.

⦁    Hoarseness of voice.

⦁    There is a presence of changes in your voice also.

⦁    Continuous unexplained weight loss can be a lung cancer symptom.



Who should get screened for lung cancer?

⦁    It is always lung cancer versus smoking. Having a history of smoking.

⦁    If you have a history of heavy smoking, or you smoke now and also, you have quit within the past 15 years.

⦁    One pack per day for 30 years and two-pack per day for 15 years.

⦁    Age: 55-80 years.

⦁    According to ACS, a yearly lung screening should be done in people with the age of 55-74 years, even if you are in good health.

⦁    Passive smoker:

⦁    Passive smokers are 20-30% at risk of developing lung cancer.

⦁    You have a survival rate of 4X higher if lung cancer is detected as early as possible.

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