Home Health Expert shares what to know

Expert shares what to know

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Learn more about lung cancer, its causes, and key warning signs. (Photo via Getty Images)

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please contact a medical professional.

Over the years, more and more Canadians face a fatal diagnosis of lung cancer. This condition can be difficult to detect and therefore difficult to treat.

About 100 people in Canada are expected to be diagnosed with lung cancer every day. About statistics.

for lung cancer awareness monthrecognized in November, Yahoo Canada We spoke with Dr. Susanna Yee-Shan Cheng, a medical oncologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, about the condition and how to prevent it.

Learn more about lung cancer, its causes, and key warning signs.

Doctor pointing at lung x-ray

Lung cancer is usually divided into two main types called small cell carcinoma and non-small cell carcinoma. (Photo via Getty Images)

What is lung cancer?

Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control.

according to Canadian Cancer Society“Lung cancer arises in the cells of the lung”, and when it arises in lung cells it is “called primary lung cancer”.

Lung cancer is usually divided into two main types called small cell carcinoma and non-small cell carcinoma.

Non-small cell lung cancer usually forms in glandular cells outside the lung, and small cell lung cancer usually forms in cells lining the bronchi in the center of the lung. Non-small cells are more common.

Lung cancer, for example, may not be as common as skin cancer or breast cancer, Cheng said, but the concern is mortality.

“Lung cancer is actually the number one cause of cancer death. It’s common, but really the biggest problem is mortality.”Dr. Susanna Chen

“In fact, lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer death,” says Cheng. “It’s common, but really the biggest problem is mortality. Stage-by-stage lung cancer has a worse prognosis than most cancers.”

What Causes Lung Cancer?

Cheng says smoking is the “biggest cause” of lung cancer.street lung cancer in canadathe majority (about 85%) of lung cancer cases are directly related to smoking, especially cigarettes.

Smoking increases the risk of lung cancer by

• Cause genetic changes in lung cells

• Impairs the lungs’ normal cleansing process of removing foreign bodies and harmful particles

• Cancer-causing particles get lodged in mucus and develop into cancerous tumors

But Cheng reveals that “the number of non-smokers is increasing.”

man smoking outside

According to Cheng, smoking is the “biggest cause” of lung cancer. (Photo via Getty Images)

“In particular, we are seeing lung cancer develop in patients who have never smoked or been exposed to second-hand smoke. because of that,” explains Cheng. “There are many patients who were never smokers and may have no reason to get lung cancer, so that’s the worrying part.”

Cheng says it’s “unclear” why nonsmokers develop lung cancer, so more research is needed. But her best guess is that it’s “related to certain hormones.”

Nonetheless, the primary focus of lung cancer screening is on people who are smokers and aged between 55 and 70 years.

Unfortunately, Cheng adds, “The system does not screen non-smokers.”

“We are now seeing lung cancer in patients who have never smoked or been exposed to second-hand smoke.”Dr. Susanna Chen

What are the signs and symptoms of lung cancer?

In the early stages, lung cancer may not cause signs or symptoms. As the tumor grows and changes in the body, it usually causes coughing and shortness of breath.

However, if any of the following apply signs and symptoms If it’s related to lung cancer, it’s important to see a doctor or health care professional as soon as possible.

  • cough that gets worse or doesn’t go away

  • difficulty breathing

  • Chest pain felt all the time and worsened by deep breathing and coughing

  • blood in mucus exhaled from the lungs

  • Wheezing

  • weight loss

  • Malaise

  • Hoarseness or other voice changes

  • hard to swallow

  • swollen lymph nodes in the neck or above the collarbone

  • headache

Cheng says he usually sees “a cough, an infection, or pneumonia” as precursors to lung cancer.

However, she reveals that “COVID has had an effect on it.”

“If someone has COVID today, they could be coughing for weeks,” she says. Diagnosis can be difficult at first.”

Male doctor examining a patient in a hospital gown coughing

A worsening or persistent cough is an important sign of lung cancer. (Photo via Getty Images)

She adds that coughing, shortness of breath (especially when moving), unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, chest pain, and hoarseness are also possible warning signs of lung cancer.

“Smokers may have a chronic cough all the time, whereas nonsmokers may never cough or may develop a cough over time. may be delayed,” Cheng adds.

How is lung cancer diagnosed and treated?

Lung cancer is usually Diagnosed After visiting your doctor, your doctor will ask about your medical history, symptoms, and perform a physical examination. You can also have a blood test, an X-ray, an MRI, or a CT scan.

If lung cancer is diagnosed, other tests are done to find out how far it has spread to the lungs, lymph nodes, and other parts of the body.This process staging.

sieving Another important step to help detect lung cancer early. Early detection of lung cancer is important. The earlier the disease is diagnosed, the better the chances of survival.

“It’s disappointing that screenings for non-smokers haven’t been done yet, but hopefully that’ll work out soon.”Dr. Susanna Chen

“Unfortunately, we don’t have screenings for non-smokers yet, but hopefully soon,” Cheng said.

Cheng believes there is progress in a positive direction when it comes to treatment.

“The situation has changed a lot in the last 20 years. Previously, we only had chemotherapy, but now it is based on pathology and genetic mutations, and we can choose what kind of treatment we receive, such as immunotherapy or targeted drugs. ,” Cheng explains.

Woman smoking against a black background holding a poster with black lungs.

Stop smoking and reduce your risk of lung cancer. (Photo via Getty Images)

How can I prevent or reduce my risk of lung cancer?

Unfortunately, not all lung cancers are preventable. However, there are things you can do to prevent the condition from developing, such as changing risk factors that you can control.

Chen says the first thing you can do is avoid smoking.

“Don’t really smoke, and the risk of second-hand smoke is also very real, so stay away from loved ones who smoke,” she says.

Cheng adds that while there aren’t many risk factors associated with diet or alcohol, attention should be paid to “occupational exposure.”

“Just like in Ephesus, be careful about occupational exposure. You can look for radon in your home, but there isn’t much else you can do,” she explains.

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