Lung Cancer, know the risks, know the facts, know your
Lung Cancer Awareness Month is a national campaign dedicated to
increasing attention to lung cancer issues. This awareness
helps to bring much-needed support and attention to a disease that
each year kills more people than breast, prostate, colon and
pancreas cancers combined.
What Causes Lung Cancer?
Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. The more
time and quantity you smoke, the greater your risk of lung
cancer. However, if you stop smoking, the risk of lung cancer
decreases each year as normal cells replace abnormal cells.
In addition, quitting smoking greatly reduces the risk of
developing other smoking-related diseases, such as heart disease,
stroke, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The chemicals in
tobacco also affect the nonsmoker inhaling the smoke, also knows as
secondhand smoking. This may cause lung cancer in the
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon gas
can come up through the soil under a home or building and enter
through gaps or cracks in the foundation or insulation, or through
pipes, drains, walls or other openings.
Another leading cause is exposure to cancer-causing substances
Some questions to consider when determining if you are
at risk for lung cancer:
- Have you ever smoked cigarettes, cigars or pipes?
- Have you been exposed to excessive amounts of secondhand
- Have you had extended exposure to radon or asbestos?
- Is there a history of lung cancer in your immediate
- Do you have breathing problems such as shortness of breath,
persistent cough, or chronic wheezing?
- Do you have undiagnosed chest, shoulder, or back pain?
- Have you been diagnosed with other respirator diseases, such as
emphysema, COPD, or tuberculosis?
If you answered yes to even one of these questions, consult with
Symptoms of Lung Cancer
In its early stages, lung cancer usually does not cause
symptoms. When symptoms occur, the cancer is often
Symptoms of lung cancer include:
- Persistent cough or coughing blood
- Chest pain that is often worse with deep breathing, coughing or
- Shortness of breath
- Recurring pneumonia or bronchitis
- Swelling of the neck and face
- Unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite or fatigue
These conditions may also be symptomatic of many other lung
problems, so see a doctor to found out the cause.
You can reduce your risk of developing lung cancer by taking the
- Quit smoking or don't start smoking.
- Avoid secondhand smoke as much as possible.
- Have a radon test conducted in your home, and/or have licensed
personnel inspect your home
for asbestos and other harmful
- Take any corrective action necessary to rid you home of
high levels of radon and/or asbestos.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
There is no effective screening program to detect lung cancer
Tools that may be used to diagnose lung cancer
- Chest x-ray
- CT scans and MRI
- Lung tissue biopsy
- Pulmonary evaluation
The treatment options for lung cancer are dependent on the type
and size of the cancer, its location, and your overall health.
Several different treatments and combinations of
treatments may be used, including:
To learn more about radiation therapy for lung cancer visit the
Radiation Oncology of Central NY web site at www.radiationoncologyservicespc.com
Sources: American Cancer Society, American Lung
Association, Lung Cancer Alliance