Out of all types of cancer, lung cancer is one of the most misunderstood. While most people seem to recognize that cancer is a insidious disease that strikes out of nowhere, they also seem to hold lung cancer in a special category. This is because lung cancer can be brought on by smoking, and smoking is seen by the majority as an unhealthy lifestyle choice. When a lung cancer patient reveals their disease, people often think – but do not always voice – that the sufferer must have smoked cigarettes and thus brought the deadly disease down on themselves. Actually, though, lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, and it often strikes in people who have never even touched a cigarette in their entire lives.
Though lung cancer symptoms can and do result from smoking, other airborne toxins and contaminants – such as waste from factories or other polluters – can also cause lung cancer. People who just happen to have lived their live in polluted areas, or people who are forced, for whatever reason, to hang around smokers and inhale secondhand smoke, are just some of the many people who eventually end up suffering from lung cancer. After all, lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related death in men and the second most common cause of cancer-related death in women. (For women, the most common cancer-related cause of death is breast cancer.) Deadly lung cancer takes 1.3 million deaths annually worldwide and sufferers of lung cancer should not be stigmatized simply because one cause of lung cancer – smoking – is a socially reviled activity.
So, no matter if you are a smoker or not, how do you know if you need to visit a physician and be tested for lung cancer? Well, lung cancer symptoms often coincide with symptoms you might have even if you were otherwise healthy yet smoked or lived or worked in a contaminated or polluted area. These lung cancer symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, and weight loss. In bad cases, the person who thinks he or she may be suffering from lung cancer symptoms is coughing up blood in their sputum.
Lung cancer symptoms could indicate one of several types of lung cancer, the two most common being small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) and non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). The two types of lung cancer are distinguished by their treatments. In the case of SCLC, chemotherapy or radiation therapy are often the better options when it comes to lung cancer treatment. But for NSCLC, surgery is usually the better answer.
While lung cancer sufferers can be a much maligned group, and no one should look down on or mistreat a patient because they have lung cancer, it is true that about 85% of lung cancer cases result from smoking tobacco. Nonsmokers who get lung cancer often either are genetically at risk for lung cancer, or were exposed to chemicals such as asbestos , radon gas or other air pollution. Secondhand smoke is included in the “air pollution” category.
If you think that you or someone you know may be suffering from lung cancer, get to your primary care physician right away. The long list of lung cancer symptoms includes: shortness of breath, weight loss, coughing, coughing up blood, wheezing, chest or abdomen pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, a hoarse voice, clubbing of the fingernails and difficulty in breathing. Do not wait until your lung cancer has progressed. Get to the doctor right away and fight the disease, for your own sake and for the sake of your family. Remember, lung cancer is a terrible disease, and no matter if you contracted it through smoking or through some other means, the illness can be treated.
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