Lung cancer predominantly occurs in people who smoke or used to smoke. If you’ve been suffering from a chesty cough lately, check your tissue to see if you’re coughing up phlegm. It may reveal you have the deadly disease.
The British Lung Foundation certifies that “90 percent” of lung cancer cases occur in people who smoke, or used to smoke.
“Your risk of getting lung cancer increases with the number of cigarettes you’ve smoked and the number of years you’ve been a smoker,” the charity adds.
However, there is hope for those who give up the unhealthy habit.
“If you stop smoking, the risk gets lower over time – after 10 years, your risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker,” says the British Lung Foundation.
Breathing in second-hand smoke is also a risk factor for lung cancer.
The charity notes people often won’t have any symptoms of lung cancer until a tumour becomes quite large.
As the cancer grows, one revealing symptom of lung cancer is discovering blood in your mucus or phlegm.
Coughing up mucus or phlegm with blood in it – whether it be in a tissue or bathroom sink – requires you to make a doctor’s appointment pronto.
Another symptom of lung disease is a cough and feeling out of breath.
Chest pain may also be apparent, as well as feeling generally tired.
People with lung cancer may experience a loss of appetite and weight loss.
A horse voice is also an indication of lung cancer.
All these symptoms pointed out by the British Lung Foundation may also be attributed to another cause, such as lung disease.
However, these symptoms do signal that you’re in need of a health check.
And, should lung cancer be discovered, the earliest diagnosis will help to improve somebody’s chance of survival.
Sometimes, lung cancer can spread to other parts of the body.
In this case, there may be other distressing signals to take note of (especially as your first symptom of cancer may not come from the lungs at all).
One such symptom is bone pain. Another is back pain.
Other symptoms include: confusion, swallowing difficulties, jaundice (when the skin and eyes become yellow) and nerve or brain damage, which might affect walking, talking, behaviour or memory.
In 10 percent of cases, people who have never smoked get lung cancer.
It’s more common in this scenario for the people affected to experience a type of lung cancer called adenocarcinoma.
Lung cancer tends to affect people over the age of 60, but – although rare – people below that age can still suffer from the condition.
For more information on any type of cancer visit Macmillan Cancer Support.
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