With more than 48,000 people diagnosed with lung cancer every year in the UK, it’s the third most common and serious type – so do you know the signs to look out for?
Lung cancer gets more common as you get older, with around 45% of people diagnosed aged 75 and over. It usually starts in the windpipe, the main airway, or the lung tissue.
More than 70% of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking, because smoking involves regularly inhaling toxic substances, but you can be diagnosed as a non-smoker too.
Other risk factors include:
- Exposure to radon gas
- Exposure to certain chemicals in the workplace
- A family history of lung cancer
- Certain cancer treatments for other types of cancer.
Signs to look out for:
There are not usually signs or symptoms in the early stages of lung cancer, but many people with lung cancer develop symptoms including:
- A persistent cough
- Coughing up blood
- Persistent breathlessness
- Unexplained tiredness and weight loss
- An ache or pain on breathing.
Treatment depends on how far the cancer has spread and on your general health.
Where diagnosed early and the cancerous cells are confined to a small area, surgery is recommended to remove the affected area of the lung.
Where surgery is not an option radiotherapy maybe be recommended. Meanwhile, chemotherapy is recommended where the cancer has spread too far for surgery or radiotherapy.
If you have any of the symptoms above please get in touch with your GP.
And remember, we are here to support you throughout your journey with cancer. Find out more about ways we could help you here.