Currently in the UK lung cancer is the second most common cancer. Around 40,000 People are diagnosed in the UK each year.
We explore below the main risk factors that cause most lung cancers.
Smoking is one the key causes of most lung cancers. It’s quite simple – The more you smoke the more risk you have of developing lung cancer. Lung cancer is also more likely to develop in individuals who decide to smoke from an early age. However people who don’t smoke can also develop lung cancer, this is currently though only around 10-15% of lung cancer sufferers.
Radon Gas (Natural)
In the Uk in areas such as the Peak District and South Wales, A Natural Gas called radon can pass from the ground into the foundations of buildings. There can be an increased risk of developing lung cancer when exposed to high concentrations of radon gas. Again this is also heavily increasedsthe chances of lung cancer when combined with smoking.
If you are worried about radon levels please refer to this map and if you are located in one of the affected areas and are worried- you can get hold of a radon detector via the radiation protection division of the health protection agency. They will also be able to help you with advice on what you can do to reduce the risk to you and your family.
Those who have a close relative with lung cancer may be at increased risk of it themselves, although the risk factor is comparably small compared with others factors.
Lung cancer is much more prevalent in people over the age of 60. Around 8 in 10 cancers are at this age point; lung cancer is not common in those under the age of 40.
This natural mineral; was used in different building industries. Those who have had prolonged exposure or close contact with this mineral may have an increased risk of developing lung cancer. Again combined with smoking this can significantly increase risks of lung cancer in individuals.
Thought many people will have been in contact with asbestos over the course of their lives, If only low level exposure the risk of lung cancer remains low (when compared with smoking), Whilst heavy continual exposure is a higher risk.
Past Cancer Treatment
Individuals who have been treated for certain types of cancer in the past have a small increased risk of lung cancer years later. Woman having being treated with radiotherapy for breast cancer and who smoke have a higher risk of lung cancer. Again those who have been treated with radiotherapy for certain types lymphoma have an increased risk of lung cancer, although these risks are far outweighed by the benefits the initial treatment for other cancers.
Individuals who have a lowered immune system caused by illnesses such as HIV or AIRs, and those who have had to take drugs that can lower the immune systems after having an organ transplant, do have a higher risk of lung cancer, however again the benefits of taking the immunosuppressant’s outweighs the risk of lung cancer in the long run.
Lung Cancer Symptoms
- A Recurring continuing cough,
- Coughing bloodstained phlegm
- Being wheezy and breathless
- Weight loss
- Chest and Shoulder Pain
- A Chest infections that doesn’t resolve
- Dull ache or acute pain when you cough
- Feeling severely tired and lethargic
- Fingers becoming larger at the end (clubbing)
- Lymph nodes swelling in the neck area
If any over the symptoms above apply to you over duration of more than a month, then you should consult your GP. Please not though all of these symptoms can be caused by other illnesses than just cancer
Lung Cancer Treatment
Individuals who have no-small cell lung cancer will receive different type of treatment taking into account the stage of their cancer.
Individuals with Non-Small Lung Cancer can receive surgery which will often remove the cancer. For those who suffer with medical problems, or those who aren’t fit enough to have surgery, radiotherapy will be suggested instead,
Another treatment that is used after surgery is chemotherapy which helps reduce the risk of lung cancer returning. It can also be given before or after radiotherapy.
For those with stage 2 Non-small cell lung cancer, it is possible to remove with surgery too. Again Radiotherapy may be used for who are not fit enough to have surgery or choose not to have it.
Non-Small Cell Lung cancer that can sometimes be removed with surgery, though sometimes it isn’t possible because it has started to spread. Other treatments such as chemotherapy may be given before and after operations.
When non-small cell lung cancer has spread through to other parts of the body, or is now affecting one or more lobe of the lung. This will be often treated with chemotherapy or radiotherapy. At this stage the aim is to help control symptoms and maintain the individual’s quality of life for a long as possible.