Early detection of lung cancer, before it develops or spreads, is often difficult because symptoms usually appear as the condition progresses.
The most common cause of lung cancer is known as smoking, because more than 70% of all cases are associated with smoking. For non-smokers, smoking at home or in the workplace can increase the risk of lung cancer by up to 30%. The most common form of lung cancer develops in the airways leading to the lungs. If the tumor clogs the airways, it can cause shortness of breath, shortness of breath and a persistent cough involving blood and mucus.
A tumor in the upper part of the lungs can compress the veins and blood vessels that enter the arm, causing joint pain and weakness. It may be permanent with a tingling sensation.
The initial symptom of the disease, which is difficult to detect, is clubbing, where the fingertips sink due to lack of oxygen.
In some cases, the tumor can narrow the blood flow to the head and cause swelling around the face.
Common symptoms associated with other types of cancer include fatigue and weight loss.
In some cases, a lung tumor can release high levels of hormones that cause distant symptoms in the body.
Lung cancer can coexist with other lung infections. If a person has a lung infection that does not respond to antibiotics or other treatments, it may prompt a doctor to look for lung cancer through a chest x-ray.
This initial test can identify abnormal structures suggesting cancer in the lungs, but further testing is needed later to confirm a positive diagnosis.
A CT scan produces a 3-D image of the lungs, while a biopsy of the lymph nodes can determine if the cancer has spread to the outside of the lung.
The results of additional tests often determine the treatment options that the physician may offer. It is noteworthy that advanced forms of lung cancer are difficult to treat, but treatment can slow the progression of the disease and relieve more painful symptoms.
Lung cancers spread faster than other types of cancer because the cancer cells spread through the bloodstream to other parts of the body. That is why lung cancer is often diagnosed after it has spread.
The risk of lung cancer can be reduced by maintaining general physical health and avoiding risk factors such as smoking, air pollution and certain chemicals that can cause cancer during inhalation or handling.
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