Lung Cancer Symptoms and Treatments



Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow or divide out of control. When this happens in the cells of the Lungs, it is called Lung cancer and is the second most common cancer. In men, prostate cancer is more common, while in women breast cancer is more common. In 2021, there were about 2.2 million new cases recorded globally.  


Risk Factors 

  1. Modifiable risks – can be reduced 
  • Smoking – the number one risk factor for lung cancer 
  • Environmental – inhalation of high radon levels over a long period of time or diesel exhaust 
  • Radiation exposure 
  • Exposure or inhalation of chemicals such as asbestos, arsenic 
  • Diet 

      2. Non-modifiable risks  

  • Age – more common in older people  
  • Family history 
  • Sex – men have a greater risk of cancer than women 
  • Race – black men and women have greater risk than their white counterparts 


Early on, there are typically no warning signs or symptoms. Lung cancer symptoms appear as the disease worsens. 

Primary signs and symptoms include: 

  • A cough that persists after two or three weeks 
  • Repeatedly recurring chest infections 
  • Spitting blood 
  • Chest ache when inhaling, coughing 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Fatigue or lack of energy 
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss 


Early Detection 

Early screening for lung cancer increases the chance of diagnosis and early treatment.  

The only recommended screening test for lung cancer is low-dose computed tomography, a Low-dose CT scan. 

Who should be screened? Someone who… 

  • Have a 20-pack-year or more smoking history, and  
  • Smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years, and  
  • Are between 50 and 80 years old 

A pack-year is smoking an average of one pack of cigarettes per day for one year. For example, a person could have a 20-pack-year history of smoking one pack a day for 20 years or two packs for 10 years.

Prevention of Lung Cancer

Although there is no guaranteed strategy to avoid lung cancer, you can lower your risk by:

Avoid smoking: Never start smoking if you haven’t already. Talk to your kids about quitting so they can learn how to avoid this significant risk factor.

Don’t inhale smoke:  Encourage a smoker to stop if you live or work with them. Ask them to smoke outside, at the very least. Avoid smoking venues like pubs and restaurants and look for smoke-free establishments instead as inhaling secondary smoke could be even more hazardous to your health.

Stay away from chemicals at work: Protect yourself from workplace exposure to hazardous chemicals. Observe the safety recommendations of your workplace and wear a face mask that has been provided to you as protection, for instance, at all times.

Diet: Eat a lot of fruits and veggies in your diet. Pick a balanced diet that includes a range of fruits and vegetables. Vitamins and nutrients are best obtained from food sources. Vitamins taken as pills should not be used in high dosages since they may be dangerous. For instance, researchers offered beta carotene supplements to heavy smokers in an effort to lower their risk of lung cancer.

READ ALSO Sickle Cell: Symptoms Management and Prevention

Treatment of Lung Cancer

Depending on the type of lung cancer and how far it has gone, there are many treatment options. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, or a combination of these treatments may be used to treat patients.

Surgery: A procedure where doctors remove cancerous tissue.
Chemotherapy: Uses unique medications to reduce or eradicate cancer.
Radiation treatment: Using X-ray-like high-energy radiation to eradicate cancer.
Targeted treatment: The use of medication to stop the development and spread of cancer cells.

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