Early Symptoms of Lung Cancer

Some of the early symptoms of lung cancer include a cough that will not go away, increased incidences of pneumonia and bronchitis and fatigue. Because early signs of cancer are shared with other illnesses and diseases, it's important that you don't jump to conclusions. However, if you are experiencing any or all of the symptoms noted below, it's important to contact your doctor immediately. Early detection and treatment of lung cancer offers the best chance of survival.

Types of Lung Cancer
There are two common types of lung cancer: small cell and nonsmall or large cell. Mesothelioma lung cancer is a less-common cancer of the lining of the lungs, which is caused by exposure to asbestos.

Small-cell cancer is an aggressive cancer that can almost always be prevented, because it is almost always caused by exposure to tobacco smoke. It doesn't matter if you smoke cigarettes, cigars or a pipe, or if you were simply exposed to secondhand smoke. What matters is when the habit began, how long you smoked or how long you were exposed to secondhand smoke. How deeply the smoke was inhaled is also a factor.

Large-cell or nonsmall-cell lung cancer often grows and spreads more slowly than small-cell lung cancer. Both small-cell and nonsmall-cell lung cancers attack the inside of the lungs before metastasizing, or colonizing other areas of the body.

Mesothelioma attacks the paper-thin lining of the lungs. Once cancer cells begin to divide within the mesothelioma, it is very difficult to stop the spread. Currently the average survival rate is one year. With better treatments, however, the survival rates are on the rise. Since this cancer is primarily caused by asbestos, avoiding exposure to asbestos is the best way to protect yourself. Even small amounts of asbestos can be a trigger, since this mineral lodges in the lungs when it is inhaled. If you have even the slightest concern that there is asbestos in your home, do not attempt to remove it. Call a professional for an examination and a remedy plan.

Early Signs of Lung Cancer

  • A persistent cough that will not go away and becomes worse over time
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath, including wheezing or hoarseness
  • Swelling in the neck and face regions
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing up sputum laced with blood

While there may be other indicators, these factors tend to be the precursors of this horrendous disease.

What Causes Cancer?
Cancer can be caused in a variety of different manners. While it's true that smoking and secondhand smoke have been targeted as the leading cause of lung cancer, there are environmental factors that often come into play. While research is ongoing in these areas, pollution and by-products of certain fuels have been named as possible causes of lung cancer. Other triggers include chronic lung diseases and a family history of cancer.

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