Lung cancer: Signs and symptoms to look out for
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There are around 48,500 new lung cancer cases in the UK every year, which works out to more than 130 every day. Lung cancer accounts for more than 20 percent of all cancer deaths, and only around four in 10 people diagnosed with the disease survive for one year or more. Lung cancer doesn’t normally cause noticeable symptoms until it has spread and become more severe, so it’s important to do everything you can to avoid developing lung cancer to start with.
Lung cancer survival rates aren’t very hopeful, with only one in 20 people diagnosed with lung cancer going on to live for another 10 years or more.
Early diagnosis can make a big difference when it comes to treating and surviving lung cancer, but the subtle symptoms make it tricky to get diagnosed quickly enough.
The main symptoms of lung cancer develop as the condition progresses, this includes:
- a cough that doesn’t go away after two or three weeks
- a long-standing cough that gets worse
- chest infections that keep coming back
- coughing up blood
- an ache or pain when breathing or coughing
- persistent breathlessness
- persistent tiredness or lack of energy
- loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss
If you’ve been diagnosed with lung cancer, your treatment will typically be managed by a team of specialists who will offer you the most suitable treatment.
The most common treatment options include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
Sometimes lung cancer can come back after you’ve had successful treatment, and survivors of lung cancer also have an increased risk of other cancers such as oesophagus cancer and thyroid cancer.
The best option is always to do everything you can to reduce your risk of lung cancer to help avoid developing it in the first place.
The ONE thing that will reduce your risk of lung cancer
A healthy lifestyle including a balanced diet and regular exercise is important for the prevention of lots of different life-threatening conditions, however, this alone won’t reduce your risk of lung cancer significantly.
According to Cancer Research UK, a few studies have shown a reduced risk of lung cancer in people who are more active, but some of these studies didn’t fully consider the effect of smoking.
Smoking cigarettes is responsible for more than 70 percent of lung cancer cases, so the best thing you can do to reduce your risk of lung cancer is to quit smoking.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been smoking, it’s always worth quitting.
The NHS website says: “If you smoke, the best way to prevent lung cancer and other serious conditions is to stop smoking as soon as possible.
“Every year you do not smoke decreases your risk of getting serious illnesses, such as lung cancer.
“After 10 years of not smoking, your chances of developing lung cancer falls to half that of someone who smokes.”
Alongside keeping your lungs healthy with no cigarettes, you should keep an eye on your diet and exercise routine.
The NHS recommends eating a low-fat, high-fibre diet, including at least five portions a day of fresh fruit and vegetables and plenty of whole grains.
There is also strong evidence to suggest that regular exercise can lower the risk of developing lung cancer and other types of cancer.
The NHS site states: “Most adults are recommended to do at least 150 minutes (two hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, plus strength-training exercises on at least two days each week.”
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