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The Threat of Lung Cancer Among Women

We’ve all seen the ads telling us about the harm of smoking, but what about those who don’t smoke? Are they still at risk for lung cancer? Unfortunately, lung cancer—the main cancer killer among women—can form whether or not you smoke. Although smoking increases your likelihood of getting the disease, it’s not the only thing that puts you at risk.

There are preventative steps you can take to ensure you spot any developments early on.Let’s take a look.

 

What is Lung Cancer?

It’s a type of disease that forms when abnormal cells begin to grow in the lungs.

There are two types of lung cancer to be aware of:

  1. Non-small cell lung cancer: around 80-85% suffer from this form.
  2. Small cell lung cancer: around 10-15% suffer from this form.

 

Causes & Symptoms

Age plays a huge factor. According to the American Cancer Society, every two out of three people diagnosed with lung cancer are 65 or older. Family history and smoking threaten the health of your lungs and add potential risk for lung cancer, too.

Here are the main causes for lung cancer:

  • Smoking
  • Radon exposure
  • Exposure to hazardous chemicals
  • Pollution

If symptoms appear, you may experience any of the following:

  • Persistent cough
  • Chronic cough
  • Hoarseness
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lung infections
  • Coughing up blood
  • Weight loss
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Headaches
  • Bone Fractures
  • Blood clots

Since it’s hard to detect early stages of lung cancer, any of these signs can indicate whether the disease has already formed. Contact your doctor right away if you are experiencing any of these symptoms or have been exposed to any of the harmful chemicals listed above.

 

Prevention

It’s important to follow your doctor’s recommendations for screenings. The earlier lung cancer is spotted, the better your chances are of treating it effectively.

According to the American Lung Association, smoking causes 90% of lung cancer diagnoses. By stopping this harmful hobby, you can strengthen your chances of improving your lung health.

The other way to prevent lung cancer is to be screened annually. Contact your doctor for a low-dose CT scan, if any of the following apply to you.

  • You have a family history of smoking.
  • You smoke or recently quit smoking.
  • You’re between 55-80 years old.

 

Next Steps

Previous and present smokers need to be tested for lung cancer. The sooner the better, if you want to prevent this destructive disease from doing damage to your body or claiming your life.

Contact your doctor to set up an appointment and discuss your options. And, most importantly, stop smoking. Ask your healthcare provider for good resources and helpful tips to make quitting more feasible in your everyday life.

Still have questions or want to be tested for lung cancer? We’re here to help! Call our Cancer Care Nurse Navigator at (302) 645.3169.