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Lung cancer simply refers to “abnormal growth of cells in the lung that multiply and grow without control”. The abnormal cells gather together to form a tumor – Lung cancer.

In 2018, about 2 million people were diagnosed with having cancer of the lungs. It is the most common cancer diagnosis among men and the 3rd most common cancer in women.

Risk factors for lung cancer

These are certain things that increase a person’s chances of getting lung cancer. These risk factors have also been implicated in other lung diseases.

They include:

  • Smoking: Tobacco smoking in the form of cigarettes,  cigars, snuff and chewed have been found to contribute to 80 – 90% of lung cancer deaths. It is also the number one risk factor for developing lung cancer. Thus, the higher the quantity and number of years smoking, the higher the chances of developing lung cancer.
80 to 90% of lung cancer deaths have been attributed to smoking

Prevention is important in preventing lung cancer and other lung diseases.

  • Exposure to second-hand smoking has also been shown to increase the chances of getting lung cancer.

 Stay safe at all times.

  • Radon: This is the second commonest factor implicated in causing lung cancer. It causes about 20,000 cases of lung cancer annually. Radon is a gas that occurs naturally and comes from rock and dust.
  • Occupational exposure and air pollution: exposure to certain industrial particles and substances has been found to increase the possibility of getting lung cancer e.g.: asbestos, arsenic, diesel exhaust fumes etc. This risk has been found to be increased if the individual also smokes.
  • Family history of lung cancer or a previous history of lung cancer.
  • Exposure to chest radiation therapy.

A few signs and symptoms

How do you know if you have cancer you ask? Well, some common symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • Chronic cough
  • Hoarseness of voice
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Coughing out of blood
  • Recurrent infections of the chest
  • Non-specific: Weight loss, loss of appetite, bone pain etc.

There are various types of Lung cancer; some originate from the lung while others are as a result of the spread of cancer from other parts of the body.

Preventive measures

  • Avoid smoking.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Eat a balanced diet: low in fat, high in fibre, 5 servings of fruit daily.
  • Avoid second-hand smoking.
  • Be careful at work: wear protective gear and try to reduce exposure to known substances that can cause lung cancer.

Majority of lung diseases are preventable. Thus it is important that we strive to advocate for prevention so as to reduce the number of people that come down with lung cancer and other lung ailments.

References