Risk factors for developing lung cancer include exposure to radon gas, air pollution, smoking, asbestos, silicone and Diesel engine exhaust fumes. How would one notice the disease early on?
According to Cancer Research UK, recurring chest infections could signal lung cancer.
Chest infections tend to be more likely to occur in those who suffer from asthma.
Concurring with this notion is the charity Asthma UK. It explained the two conditions combined lead to extra inflammation in the airways.
Symptoms of a chest infection (if you’re asthmatic) can include coughing, wheezing and breathlessness.
Another sign of a chest infection includes yellow or green phlegm that is thick and may be smelly.
Chest pain or discomfort may also be felt, alongside a high temperature, aching muscles and tiredness.
Chest infections that don’t seem to go are a warning sign of lung cancer – and a doctor’s visit is highly recommended by Cancer Research UK.
There are other noteworthy signs of lung cancer everybody is better off knowing about.
This includes suffering from a persistent cough. If you’ve had a persistent cough for years, and it’s been confirmed by medical staff as a smoker’s cough, then pay attention to the way it sounds.
Any cough that now sounds differently is cause for alarm, as well as any pain felt when coughing.
Coughing up blood is also alarming, and needs to be taken very seriously.
People with lung cancer may feel as though they’re getting out of breath doing the things they used to do without a problem.
The above symptom could also occur if you’ve put on a lot of weight, but if you haven’t, note it down and prepare to tell your doctor.
Those with lung cancer may lose their appetite, and consequently, lose weight and feel tired.
As you go throughout your day, note down any symptoms you’re experiencing – somewhere you’ll remember.
This could be on a piece of paper you use to discuss your symptoms with your doctor, on the notes section on your smartphone or on a computer.
If the doctor wants to check you over, you may be referred to the hospital for tests.
Here are a few questions you may want to ask your GP when discussing fears of lung cancer:
- Do I need to see a specialist? Is it urgent?
- When will I see them?
- Where will I see them?
- Will I find out about my appointments by post or telephone?
- Do I need tests? What will they involve?
- How long should I expect to wait?
- Where can I find out more about tests?
- Do I have to do anything in preparation for this test?
- When will I get the results and who will tell me?
Your outcome depends on the type of lung cancer you have and also the stage of the cancer when it was diagnosed.
The earlier lung cancer is diagnosed, the better chances you have of longer survival.
To illustrate, the charity highlights key statistics from one area of England for people diagnosed with lung cancer between 2002 and 2006.
Those who had an early diagnosis, and the cancer was caught at “stage one”, then more than “80 percent” will survive their cancer for more than a year.
However, a late diagnosis, when the cancer is identified at “stage four”, less than 20 percent of people will survive their cancer for more than a year.