Did you know it’s been proven the survival rate for lung cancer is higher the earlier it’s detected?
At stage one, the average 5-year survival rate is about 45 to 50 percent according to The American Cancer Society. The percentage drops to one percent once the patient reaches stage four.
Although 50 percent of current lung cancer patients are former smokers, 15 percent of patients have never smoked. Whether you’ve ever been a smoker or not, it’s important to know what’s going on with your lungs and your body.
That’s why the experts at Pulmonary Care of Central Florida have organized five of the most common early warning signs of lung cancer. In no particular order:
- A Cough That Doesn’t Go Away
It’s very common – and easy – for people to ignore a chronic cough. Many attribute it to an allergy related issue, weather, or the remnants of a cold that just “won’t go away.” If the cough lasts more than a couple of weeks, that can be a sign of something worse. Pre-existing conditions like COPD and asthma could put you at a higher risk for severe pulmonary issues, including lung cancer.
- Pain In Shoulder, Back, Chest, or Arm
Pain resulting from lung cancer can be a symptom that takes place even before a chronic cough starts. Consult your physician if you feel pain in any of the above mentioned areas. At time of diagnosis with lung cancer, about 50 percent of patients have some form of chest or shoulder pain.
- Repeated Infections (Like Bronchitis and Pneumonia)
After being repeatedly treated for bronchitis or pneumonia, it is not entirely uncommon for patients to be diagnosed with lung cancer. Tumors can be located near an airway and cause complications leading to infections like bronchitis and pneumonia.
- General Decline in Health
It’s important to take note of any medical symptoms that are uncommon for you, especially if you’re a smoker. Even something seemingly unrelated, like knee pain for instance, can be related to lung cancer. You should contact a pulmonary expert if you experience any of the following for an extended amount of time.
- Decreased Appetite
- Unexplained Weight Loss
- Shortness of Breath With Activities or at Rest
Have you ever felt an abnormal shortness of breath during an activity or while just relaxing? This is often overlooked and attributed to old age or weight gain. If you notice that you feel reluctant to go on a hike, winded during sexual activities, or believe it’s the humidity making it hard to breath, make an appointment with your physician.
Lung Cancer Screenings
Unfortunately, there isn’t a perfect test for everyone to detect lung cancer in its earliest, most curable stages. However, it has been found that for some between the ages of 55 and 74 who have smoked at least 30 pack-years, CT screening may reduce the risk of lung cancer deaths by 20 percent.
While screening is recommended for people who meet these criteria, there are others who may benefit from screening as well, such as those who have been exposed to radon in their homes or have a hereditary predisposition to lung cancer.
To learn more about lung cancer screening and to find out if it’s right for you, contact a pulmonary specialist today.
To schedule your consultation, schedule your appointment request here or call (407) 539-2766.