Lung Cancer Awareness Month (LCAM) is a national campaign dedicated to increasing attention to lung cancer issues. Lung cancer is a type of cancer which starts in the lungs. The lungs are two spongy organs in your chest and are part of the respiratory system. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, both among men and women.
People that are smokers are at the highest risk for lung cancer. It increases with the length of time and number of cigarettes smoked.
Lung cancer is divided into two categories: Non Small Cell lung cancer and Small cell lung cancer. Non small cell lung cancer is the most common type making up approx 85% of lung cancers and is a slow growing cancer versus the Small cell lung cancer.
Signs & Symptoms
Lung cancer usually does not exhibit any signs or symptoms in it’s early stages. Signs and symptoms usually appear in advanced stages of cancer.
- Persistent cough
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Coughing up blood, even in small amounts
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Bone pain
- Unintentional weight loss
- Swelling to the face & neck
Causes of Lung Cancer
- Smoking – The incidence of lung cancer is strongly correlated with cigarette smoking, with about 90% of lung cancers arising as a result of tobacco use. The risk of lung cancer increases with the number of cigarettes smoked and the time over which smoking has occurred; doctors refer to this risk in terms of pack-years of smoking history (the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day multiplied by the number of years smoked). Doctors believe smoking causes lung cancer by damaging the cells that line the lungs. Pipe and cigar smoking also can cause lung cancer although the risk is not as high as with cigarette smoking.
- Passive smoking – Passive smoking is the inhalation of tobacco smoke by nonsmokers who share living or working quarters with smokers, also is an established risk factor for the development of lung cancer. Approx 3000 deaths occur annually have been attributed to passive smoking.
- Asbestos fibers – Asbestos fibers are silicate fibers that can stay embedded in lung tissue for a lifetime after exposure to asbestos. The workplace is a common source of exposure to asbestos.
- Radon gas – is a natural, chemically inert gas that is a natural decay product of uranium. Radon gas can travel up through soil and enter homes through gaps in the foundation, pipes, drains, or other openings.
- Family predisposition – While the majority of lung cancers are associated with tobacco smoking, the fact that not all smokers eventually develop lung cancer suggests that other factors, such as individual genetic susceptibility, may play a role in the causation of lung cancer.
- Lung diseases such as COPD – The presence of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is associated with an increased risk (by six fold of a non smoker) for the development of lung cancer even if the person is not a cigarette smoker anymore.
- Excessive alcohol consumption – Drinking more than a moderate amount of alcohol – no more than one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men – may increase your risk of lung cancer.
Doctors use a wide range of diagnostic procedures and tests to diagnose lung cancer. These include :-
1) Physical examination and medical history of the patient
2) Chest x ray – is the most common first diagnostic tool to diagnose lung cancer.
3) CT scan of the chest – A CT scan of the chest may be ordered when X-rays do not show an abnormality or do not yield sufficient information about the extent or location of a tumor.
4) MRI – MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) scans may be appropriate when precise detail about a tumor’s location is required.
5) PET Scan – PET scanning is a specialized imaging technique that uses short-lived radioactive drugs to produce three-dimensional colored images of those substances in the tissues within the body.
6) Bronchoscopy – Examination of the airways by bronchoscopy (visualizing the airways through a thin, fiberoptic probe inserted through the nose or mouth) may reveal areas of tumor that can be sampled (biopsied) for diagnosis by a pathologist.
Treatment for lung cancer depend on the individual, the location, extent of the tumor and the patient’s overall heath status.
- Surgery – Involves removal of the cancerous growth and any other necessary neighboring area
- Chemotherapy – uses drugs to kill cancerous cells. It can be administered through a vein in your arm or orally.
- Radiation – Radiation therapy uses high-powered energy beams, such as X-rays, to kill cancer cells.
- Targeted Drug therapy – Targeted therapies are newer cancer treatments that work by targeting specific abnormalities in cancer cells.
- Palliative/Supportive Care – Once the treatments that are offered provide little chance for a cure, the doctor may recommend you avoid harsh treatments and opt for supportive care/palliative care instead. Supportive care allows you to make the most of your final weeks or months without enduring treatment side effects that can negatively impact your quality of life.
- Aloe Vera -Aloe has been well known for centuries for its healing properties, and both oral intake and topical dressings have been documented to facilitate healing It appears to be of help in cancer patients (including lung cancer) by activating the white blood cells and promoting growth of non-cancerous cells. The National Cancer Institute has included Aloe Vera in their recommendations for increased testing because of these apparent cancer fighting properties.
- Broccoli – Broccoli contains a substance called Sulforaphane that has been shown in animal studies to dramatically reduce the number, size, and reproduction of malignant tumors. It is believed to be a powerful preventative for diseases such as cancers.
- Beta Carotene – Beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A. It has the ability to neutralize free radicals and reduce the risk of stomach and lung cancer.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C suppresses free radicals and protects DNA in cells from damage. Tumors can only survive if free radicals are present.
- Vitamin E – It destroys free radicals before they damage cells. Vitamin E plays an important part in immune system function, metabolic processes and DNA repair.
- Vitamin B – B vitamins work synergistically with each other and serve as catalysts for other vitamins.
- Cordyceps – Cordyceps (also known as Jing Zhi Dongchong Xiacao, Chinese Caterpillar Fungus, Dong Chong Xia Cao, Semitake), is one of most important natural healer in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is very widely used in both in hospitals as a Chinese Clinical Medicine and as a household remedy. The treatment of cancer: the division of cancerous and malignant cells regulated and controlled by Cordyceps, as a result the herbal remedy can delay the diffusion of cancer cells within the body of the affected patient – thus aiding in treatment.
Please check out our Monthly Specials, which includes an array of vitamins and herbs mentioned.
Educating yourself against any disease is crucial to an early diagnosis and receiving timely treatment leading to fewer complications and a better prognosis. The following resources will help you stay informed of the latest developments in Lung Cancer diagnosis and treatment.
We always recommend a good multivitamin, Vitamin B complex, with any herbal regimen. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to respond to this blog in the comments form below. We hope this information proves beneficial to you.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Not intended to treat, prevent, mitigate or cure any disease. User results may vary. You should check with you doctor before starting any supplement to see if it is right for you.