Common early signs of lung cancer include the following, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS):
- Cough that will not go away
- Coughing up blood
- Chest pains
- Hoarseness and pain when speaking
- Significant weight loss
- Fatigue or weakness
- Frequent infections
- Several recurring onsets of wheezing
This is a non-exhaustive list of symptoms that may indicate a case of lung cancer early on. The early signs of lung cancer have other symptoms, too, but if symptoms progress beyond the lungs, then the cancer might have already spread to other parts of the body.
The early signs of lung cancer can be unique for every case, and can initially appear to be linked to other causes. It can help to be aware of the early signs of lung cancer, so that you and your loved ones can know what to look out for, especially if the cancer was caused by something like exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos exposure is known as a high-risk factor for lung cancer, mesothelioma, and ovarian cancer, but not all people who are at risk are screened for cancer. This is because asbestos was not regulated on a federal level until the 1970s, when plenty of people lived and worked around the carcinogenic substance.
About Early Lung Cancer Symptoms
Early signs of lung cancer can be tricky to navigate, as they can often be mistaken for other illnesses and diseases. For some people diagnosed with cancer due to symptoms, doctors catch the disease early enough to take non-invasive action against it. Unfortunately for some people, when a cancer diagnosis is finally reached, it is too late in the development of cancer to take action.
Early Stages and Signs of Lung Cancer
Although early symptoms are possible, the ACS says that “most lung cancers do not cause any symptoms until they have spread”. Again, many of these symptoms can initially be diagnosed and treated as something else. The vagueness of the symptoms and their potential causes makes it easy to treat less serious causes first.
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Stages and Treatment of Lung Cancer
When someone is diagnosed with lung cancer, doctors will perform a staging procedure in order to determine the extent of the cancer growth and development. People with cancer are diagnosed with a stage between stage 0 and stage IV, with IV being the most severe.
Two major types of lung cancer include non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Most stages of cancer have additional sub-stages, which help specify the presence of tumors, the size, and the spread of cancerous cells.
Depending on the severity of the stage of cancer, the person may undergo surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of these procedures in order to eliminate the cancer cells. In some severe cases, or when people have pre-existing health conditions in addition to cancer, some treatment is not advisable. This can make the chances of recovery grim.
Part of a successful diagnosis and treatment of cancer has to do with early detection. Understanding the nature of how the cancer developed in the first place can be beneficial to getting back to life as usual, too.
Populations Who are at Risk for Lung Cancer
While no cancer case is exactly alike, there are some statistical similarities in cancer cases that make it easier to predict who could get it, based on the populations that have already had it. The ACS has a recommended list of qualifications for people who should get lung cancer screening. The qualifications include:
- Being 55 to 74 years of age
- Smoking one pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years, two packs a day for 15 years, etc.
- Smoking currently, or having quit in the last 15 years.
Some people would expect to see advisories for lung cancer screenings for previous and current smokers, but the general age group of 55 to 74 years of age is in reference to the population that grew up with increased exposure to asbestos.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asbestos was not heavily regulated until the 1970s. This, in addition to a long time that lung cancer can go undetected, puts the current population of people ages 55 to 74 in a high-risk group for developing lung cancer.
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If you have a history of asbestos exposure and were recently diagnosed with lung cancer, the lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm want to represent you. Call (800) 217-6099 to speak with a member of our team today.