Lung Cancer Symptoms and Treatment Options

Lung Cancer strikes many thousands of people in the US every year.  And if the disease is not identified in early stages, it can grow and eventually spread to other parts of the body.  This makes it much more difficult to control and unfortunately affects the long term prognosis for this type of cancer.  Since lung cancer actually tends to affect more women than men, it is very important to understand and recognize many of the lung cancer symptoms in women.

But it should first of all be explained that lung cancer is a disease where cancer cells form within the tissues of the lungs.  The cancerous cells form tumors which grow and expand.  It can directly affect the function of the lungs. And if left untreated, the cancer can grow beyond just the lungs and form throughout the body.

As indicated earlier, women tend to have a higher risk factor for developing the disease than men. And while many people think that lung cancer only affects people who smoke, this is not necessarily the case.  Even non-smoking women have the potential to develop the disease based on factors other than smoking.

So it must be stressed that it is very important to try to identify the disease as early as possible.  This provides the best chance to apply effective treatments and achieve the best long term results. Unfortunately there are often no clear signs of lung cancer in the early stages.  Or some symptoms may be misunderstood and thought to be associated with other problems such as the cold or flu.

But it has been found that around 25% of the people who have been diagnosed with lung cancer in the US found out during the process of receiving a routine X-ray.  So the need for regular health checkups and screening is vitally important.  And all women who are concerned about this disease should pay particular attention to the following symptoms of lung cancer for women:

  • Persistent coughing which does not abate or go away.  This coughing may occur any time of the day or night.  And it can worsen as the disease progresses.  In some cases the person who is suffering from the disease may cough out phlegm which is pink because it contains some blood.
  • Problems in breathing.  If a tumor grows within the lung, it can block the airways and make it much more difficult to breathe.  There may also be a buildup of fluid in the lungs which also affects a person’s ability to breathe easily.  People who are affected by this kind of lung cancer may feel that they are always short of breath.  They may also experience wheezing due to the blockages in the lungs.
  • Women tend to become more susceptible to lung infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis. The presence of the cancer cells cut down on the ability of the lungs to fight infection and they can therefore develop these problems.
  • As the tumor grows and expands in the lungs, it can cause pain or discomfort.  The chronic coughing caused by the cancer growth can also increase the level of pain or discomfort.  If this occurs, contact your doctor immediately to have this checked into further.
  • A feeling of fatigue and weakness can occur.  In addition many patients lose their appetite and do not eat properly.  This leads to weight loss and fatigue.
  • Lung cancer patients may also notice that their voice has changed.  It may sound hoarse due to the presence of the cancer cells.  As the tumor continues to grow, it can interfere with the voice box and affect the volume and quality of the voice.
  • Other symptoms can vary widely and may include memory loss, vision loss, difficulty in swallowing, facial swelling and others.  Women tend to also show mood changes and depression.

If any of these signs are noticed, it is best to get things checked out by a medical professional.  If the cancer is diagnosed, there are many kinds of treatment depending on the severity and stage of the cancer.  Surgery is often applied to remove cancerous tissue.  However many kinds of cancer cannot be treated in this way so chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be applied.

For those cases where the cancer has advanced to other parts of the body, the treatment may be largely focused on trying to control the cancer rather than curing it.  And a key objective is to bring the best quality of life to the patient for as long as possible.

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