November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month; four weeks dedicated to raising awareness of the seriousness of lung cancer and its risk factors.
Although the number of new lung cancer cases has dropped in recent years, along with the rate of smoking, lung cancer is still the deadliest cancer among both men and women in the United States. Lung cancer takes more lives every year than prostate, colon, ovarian, and breast cancer combined.
In light of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, The Colony ER Hospital aims to educate our community on the risk factors and symptoms of lung cancer, as well as how you can maintain healthy lungs.
Did you know that tobacco smoke contains a toxic mix of more than 7,000 chemicals? And, out of those chemicals, at least 70 have been proven to cause cancer in people or animals.
Habitual cigarette smoking is the top risk factor for lung disease and accounts for about 80-90 percent of lung cancer deaths. Smoking causes lung cancer by irritating the cells that line the lungs and ultimately damaging them.
When you inhale cigarette smoke, the carcinogens within it immediately start affecting your lung tissue. Your body might be able to repair the damage at first, but as the smoke repeatedly hits your lungs, the cells become increasingly damaged. Damaged cells can start to act abnormally over time, thus causing cancer to develop.
Cigarettes aren’t the only tobacco product that can harm your lungs. Using tobacco products like pipes and cigars can also increase your risk. And, although time hasn’t allowed enough extensive research to be done on e-cigarettes, the ALA states, “The American Lung Association is very concerned that we are at risk of losing another generation to tobacco-caused diseases as the result of e-cigarettes.”
Smoking tobacco products not only puts your lungs at risk, but you risk cancer of the mouth and throat, esophagus, colon, stomach, colon, liver, pancreas, rectum, trachea, larynx (voice box), bronchus, kidney, renal pelvis, urinary bladder, and cervix.
If you smoke and are unable to quit, visit your healthcare provider for assistance. Your doctor can recommend personalized strategies like counseling, medications, and nicotine replacement products to help you give up cigarettes permanently.
Not smoking tobacco or quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your lungs. However, non-smokers can also develop lung cancer caused by a variety of factors. Non-smokers may get cancer from being exposed to radon gas (released from soil and building materials), asbestos, diesel exhaust, industrial chemicals, and/or secondhand smoke.
Along with avoiding tobacco, you can take measures to prevent lung cancer by:
- Avoiding secondhand smoke
- Testing your home for radon
- Avoiding carcinogens at work
- Eating a diet rich in fruits and veggies
- Trying to exercise most days of the week
Signs and Symptoms
Usually, symptoms of lung cancer aren’t obvious in its early stages. Sings of lung cancer may include:
- A persistent cough that won’t go away
- Coughing up blood
- Frequent shortness of breath
- Bone pain
- Chest pains
- Losing weight without trying
As is the case with most cancers, early detection is your best defense against fighting lung cancer. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms persistently, or you’re worried about your lung health, make an appointment with your healthcare provider or visit The Colony ER Hospital.
With an onsite Radiology department, our facility offers lab services and imaging, including CT scans, ultrasounds, and X-rays. For lung-related and non-lung-related medical emergencies, our staff is always ready to assist you, and our doors are always open. Skip the hassle and wait time, come to The Colony ER Hospital for the highest-level care in the most efficient manner.
Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, The Colony ER Hospital and Nutex Health state no content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.
Nutex Health, Inc supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on The Colony ER Hospital, or any of our concierge-level medical facilities to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.