Lung cancer refers to an abnormal growth of cells in the lungs. It is the second most common cancer in both men and women and is one of the leading causes of death. In the early stage, lung cancer does not show any signs or symptoms, therefore, the disease is often detected at an advanced stage.
Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of lung cancer include:
- Persistent or intense coughing with blood
- Pain in the chest and shoulder regions
- Difficulty breathing and swallowing
- Harsh sound while breathing
- Swelling in the neck
Lung cancer’s risks can be minimized by lifestyle changes. Follow these measures to reduce the risk of lung cancer:
- Do not smoke: If you never smoked, do not start. Children need to be educated about the harmful effects of smoking. Teenagers usually start smoking to impress their peers; they should be instead encouraged to develop healthy habits.
- Stop Smoking: Quit smoking. Quitting reduces the risk of lung cancer. Talk to your doctor about the strategies how to quit smoking. You can take medications and nicotine replacement products to help quit smoking.
- Avoid second-hand smoke: Second-hand smoke is equally dangerous as smoking. If you have smokers in your family or friend circle, ask them to quit smoking or smoke outside. Stay away from the areas where people smoke, such as bars and restaurants.
- Test your home for radon: Radon is a radioactive element and naturally occurs in rocks. Check in your home for radon levels, especially if you live near the area where radon is a known problem.
- Avoid carcinogens at work: Health and safety guidelines in the workplace can help the workers avoid carcinogens. Be cautious to protect yourself from exposure to toxic chemicals at work by using protective wear such as facemask. Ask your doctor to suggest precautions to protect yourself from the occupational hazards.
- Eat fruits and vegetables: Include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet. You should take foods rich in vitamins and nutrients. Avoid taking vitamins in pill form. You should also include a variety of food high in antioxidants (beans, berries), phytoestrogens like soy foods (soy milk, tofu), and cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower).
- Regular exercise: If you do not have the habit of regular exercise, then start it now. Exercise helps improve your general health.
- Limit the intake of alcohol: Another important step in lung cancer prevention includes limiting the intake of certain types of alcoholic beverages.
- Be aware of supplements: Advertisements make us believe that nutritional supplements are beneficial for the prevention of lung cancer. However, studies have proved that daily use of such supplements may increase the risk of lung cancer. Talk to your doctor before taking such supplements.
There is no sure way to prevent lung cancer, but you can take preventive steps to reduce your risk of getting lung cancer. Early diagnosis and treatment would increase the survival.