Did you know that lung cancer is one of the most common causes of death in the world?
Given that November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, there’s no better time than now to start learning how to build a healthier future for both you and your loved ones. Those looking to go for check ups and other diagnostic services may visit the Center for Thoracic and Critical Care Medicine at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center (CSMC). Here are some important details you need to know about the deadly disease:
What are the symptoms of lung cancer?
Lung cancer is a type of cancer that primarily develops in the tissues of the lungs, wherein cells divide uncontrollably and form tumors that spread and interfere with the functions of your organs. Although it is important to be able to detect the disease early, lung cancer can often go unnoticed until it has already advanced. That’s why it’s important to know the different symptoms of lung cancer.
These may include chest pain or discomfort, a worsening cough, difficulty in breathing and/or swallowing, wheezing, shortness of breath, blood in sputum, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and swelling in the face and/or veins in the neck, among others.
What risk factors may contribute to lung cancer?
Some of the most common causes of lung cancer are smoking, air pollution, and exposure to second-hand smoking. Other risk factors also include a family history of cancer, as well as exposure to radon gas, asbestos, arsenic in drinking water, radiation, and other carcinogens.
How can lung cancer be diagnosed?
Lung cancer may be diagnosed through an assessment of your medical and family history, physical examination, imaging tests (e.g. chest x-rays or chest CT scans), laboratory tests of your blood and sputum, and/or a lung biopsy.
If cancer is discovered, further tests will be recommended to check the spread and severity of the disease across the lungs, lymph nodes, and the rest of the body.
What are the different stages of lung cancer?
Lung cancer is typically categorized into five stages:
- Stage 0 (in-situ): The cancer is located on the top lining of the lung or bronchus and has not spread from its original site to other parts of the lung or body.
- Stage I: The cancer has not spread outside of the lung.
- Stage II: The cancer is larger than that found in Stage I and has spread to lymph nodes inside of the lung or has developed into more than one tumor in the same lobe of the lung.
- Stage III: The cancer is larger than that found in Stage II and has spread to nearby lymph nodes and/or structures or more than one tumor is found across different lobes of the same lung.
- Stage IV: The cancer has spread to both lungs, the fluid around the lungs, and the fluid around the heart or other distant organs.
How can lung cancer be treated?
General treatments for lung cancer may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and laser therapy. Small cell lung cancer, a faster and rarer form of lung cancer, may also be treated through an endoscopic stent placement, which helps to open an airway blocked by abnormal tissue.
Other treatments for non-small cell lung cancer, which comprise 80 to 85% of all cases, may include targeted therapy, photodynamic therapy, cryosurgery, and electrocautery.
What can I do to reduce the risk of getting lung cancer?
- Don’t smoke. 80 to 90% of all lung cancer cases are attributed to cigarette smoking. Hence, the best way to reduce your chances of getting lung cancer is to stay away from tobacco and not smoke.
- Avoid secondhand smoke. It may not be enough if it’s only you who does not smoke. Breathing in the smoke expelled by other smokers may also place you at a higher risk of developing lung cancer.
- Maintain a healthy diet. You are what you eat. In order to build a strong and healthy body, you need to equip yourself with the right vitamins and nutrients. Studies suggest that eating a low-fat high-fiber diet that includes fruits and vegetables may lower the risk of not only lung cancer but also other types of cancers and diseases.
Have any more questions about services for cancer diagnosis and treatment? Contact Cardinal Santos Medical Center at (02) 8727-0001, local 4210 for preventive and diagnostic services. For cancer treatment options, you may reach the CSMC Cancer Center at (02) 8727-0060.