WHILE global lung cancer rates are going down, the condition is still the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.
Like all types of cancers, lung cancer is essentially the abnormal growth of cells. A short incubation period and the ease with which it spreads throughout the body make lung cancer a particularly perilous form of cell malignancy.
Lung cancer can affect any part of the lung but a significant percentage of attacks arise from the epithelial cells that line the bronchi (airways). In some cases, the cancer also impairs the functions of the pleura, or the cavity housing the lungs.
Most people with lung cancer don’t have any symptoms until the cancer is advanced. These may include:
• Coughing that gets worse or doesn’t go away
• Chest pain
• Shortness of breath
• Coughing up blood
• Feeling very tired all the time
• Unexpected weight loss.
Other changes that can sometimes occur with lung cancer may include repeated bouts of pneumonia and swollen or enlarged lymph nodes (glands) inside the chest in the area between the lungs.
These symptoms can happen with other illnesses. Your doctor can tell you the cause in your case.
Types of treatment
Lung cancer is treated in several ways—surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination—depending on the type of lung cancer and how far it has spread.
The doctor’s advice
In his new book, Understanding Lung Cancer: An Introduction for Patients and Caregivers, Dr. Naheed Ali, author of a number of books on health care, offers these helpful ideas:
• Risk factors can be minimized by modifying or avoiding certain behaviors such as drinking alcohol and smoking (the World Health Organization says tobacco smoking causes more than 70 percent of lung cancer deaths), proper diet, and exercise.
• Early detection and implementation of evidence-based strategies stand among the best ways of averting this brand of cancer.
The experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention add that it’s also a good idea to avoid secondhand smoke and have your home tested for radon leaks.
You can find the book on Amazon and where books are sold. For further facts on Dr. Ali, go to www.NaheedAli.com.
North American Precis Syndicate