What is lung cancer?Lung Cancer is a cancer which grows from cells in the lung. Cancer can also spread to the lung from other parts of the body.
Lung cancer develops as a result of permanent changes to cells lining the bronchial airways. The inhalation of tobacco smoke is the most common cause of these changes.
Another less common cause of lung cancer is the inhalation of/contact with certain substances found in some workplaces such as asbestos, radiation, arsenic, chromates, nickel, chloromethyl ethers, mustard gas and coke-oven emissions.
The signs and symptoms of lung cancerLung cancer may cause no noticeable symptoms in its early stages. As the cancer grows, it can cause symptoms such as:
- Blood-stained phlegm.
- Chest pain.
- Weight loss.
Treatment of lung cancerAlways consult your doctor for diagnosis and advice. In no way is this information intended to replace the advice of a medical practitioner.
Diagnosis of lung cancer can involve a chest x-ray, biopsy (a sample of tissue from the area), a sample of coughed-up sputum, a CT scan, a bone scan and bronchoscopy, where a camera is passed into the lungs. Treatment of lung cancer may involve surgery, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy.
Smoking is the main cause of lung cancer in 90% of lung cancer cases involving men and 70% of lung cancer cases involving women. The more you smoke and the longer you smoke, the greater your risk of developing lung cancer.
When you give up smoking, the risk of lung cancer decreases each year as normal cells replace abnormal cells that have been affected by smoking. When you give up smoking, you also greatly reduce your risk of developing other smoking-related diseases such as heart disease, stroke, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.Preventing cancer recurrence and new cancers
There is no way to guarantee that you won’t get cancer but there are steps you can take to reduce your overall risk.
• Quit smoking or, better still, never start.
• Healthy eating, maintaining a healthy body weight and being physically active can help to lower the chance of cancer coming back.
• Be physically active. Aim for at least 30 minutes, preferably more, on most days of the week.
• Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables can lower the risk of developing cancer. Try to eat at least two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables every day. You only need to have a mid-morning and afternoon fruit snack, a big salad or vegetable soup for lunch and a decent portion of veggies with your dinner Easy!
• Ditch the white stuff and eat a variety of wholegrain, wholemeal and high-fibre foods such as cereals, breads, rice and pasta. Aim for at least 2 serves a day
• Go easy on the red meat. Swap it for chicken, seafood or even some legumes and stay clear of processed meats as these have been linked to increased risk of bowel cancer
• Cover up when out in the sun – it’s not just sunscreen, cover up with long sleeves if possible, wear a hat and don’t forget your sunnies. Like skin, your eyes can be damaged, especially if you are exposed to glare from water, snow or sand.
• Get to know your body and what is normal for you, and see your doctor when you notice any changes. Have all the recommended screening tests.
• Cut back on the booze. When it comes to cancer, there’s no safe amount of alcohol.
• Choose a diet low in fat and salt.
Visit NSW Cancer Council or call the cancer information line on 13 11 20 to find out more on how to reduce you, and your family’s risk of cancer.