Lung Cancer: Symptoms, Causes & Prevention
Lung cancer is no stranger to people living in the middle east. For the 4500 new cases of cancer found in the UAE per year, 150 of them can be accounted for lung cancer. Despite the majority of these cases due to smoking, secondhand smoke, lifestyle and genetic factors also have their influence on lung cancer.
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With this concerning statistic being what it is, the Dubai Health Authorities have recommended people who are at risk or experiencing the symptoms of lung cancer to seek medical attention as soon as possible. With that being said, let’s break down what lung cancer is and develop a better understanding of this health complication.
What is Lung Cancer?
Lung cancer is when abnormal cells grow uncontrollably in one or both of your lungs. Instead, of developing and nurturing your lungs as cells are supposed to do, they create and form tumours that end up interfering and preventing the healthy functioning of the lungs. The tumours developed in the lungs prevent healthy blood flow from the lungs, in turn cutting off the flow of oxygen throughout the entire body.
Symptoms of Lung Cancer
Detecting symptoms of lung cancer during its early stages is often quite challenging as they are almost unnoticeable. However, symptoms and signs will become more clear and easier to identifier as the condition develops. As soon as you notice any of the below symptoms, medical attention is very important to seek out immediately:
Signs and symptoms of lung cancer include:
- A cough that doesn’t go away
- Coughing up blood
- Short breath
- Chest pain
- Unexpected weight loss
- Unexplainable headaches or dizziness
- Pain in joints and bones
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Difficulty performing physical tasks
Causes of Lung Cancer
In the UAE, smoking accounts for 90% of all lung cancer cases. Although the majority of smokers and people diagnosed with lung cancer are men, UAE based data has revealed that there is an increase in women developing lung cancer due to smoking and inhaling shisha smoke. Cigarette smoke is the leading factor in lung cancer as tobacco smoke contains a cancer-causing substance called carcinogen. This substance almost immediately begins to attack lung tissue at first contact.
Although smoking is the main culprit for this condition, other factors may contribute to lung cancer, including:
- Secondhand smoke – This occurs when you inhale the smoke from another person’s cigarette. Staying around areas where there is heavy smoke and inhaling it is almost just as bad as smoking yourself.
- Genetics – People with a family history of lung cancer have an increased likeliness to inherit the condition as opposed to those who don’t.
- Exposure to radon gas – Radon gas is an unsafe substance to inhale as it can damage the lungs. It is produced from the natural breakdown of uranium soil that transmits into the air.
- Asbestos – A very dangerous substance to entail, asbestos is a substance derived from nickel, arsenic, and chromium that are transmitted in the air, especially in industrial work environments.
Lung Cancer Prevention
Due to the unknown factors that may contribute to the development of lung cancer, there is no guaranteed way of preventing lung cancer from developing in your health. However, there are preventative actions we can make to decrease the likeliness of it from developing in our health. Here are a couple of lifestyle adjustments and things you can do:
- Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke – The first and most obvious point, smoking puts you at major risk of lung cancer. Minimize or better yet, quit altogether. Seek a support group or use a helpline to get you started. Avoid secondhand smoking by steering clear of places that you know have heavy smokers lurking around.
- Consider your workplace environment – if the workplace you work in (especially in the industrial labour industry) has high levels of harmful fumes in the air, be sure to cover yourself with protective wear that stops you from inhaling it. You may even want to consider being moved to a more safer workplace.
- Avoid peer pressure – If you belong to a close community of people who like to smoke, do not fall into the peer pressure of smoking as well. Even casual smokers are at high risk of lung cancer. Once carcinogen comes into contact with the tissue in your lungs, the damage is permanent.
- Eat a healthy diet and exercise – You could improve the condition of your lungs if you smoked in the past by eating nutrient-rich foods that will promote healthy cells. Frequent and consistent exercise will also improve the condition of your lungs, heart and generate better blood flow throughout the body.
The Importance of Getting Medical Attention at First Notice
People who have lung cancer will experience severe health complications, especially when the condition is not being treated. Without the necessary and sufficient treatment, the chances of a fatality are much higher. This is why seeing a doctor during the earliest stages is best.
If you notice any of the symptoms that are related to lung cancer, get medical advice as soon as possible. Your doctor will be able to provide you with advice, an action plan, as well as the necessary resources you need to combat the disease.
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