Today is World Lung Cancer Day. It is important to be aware of lung cancer because it is the largest cause of cancer deaths for both men and women. Lung cancer kills more people than colon, prostate, ovarian, and breast cancers combined. With such a high occurrence of deaths from lung cancer, people need to be aware of the symptoms so as to catch the disease before it spreads.
There are two main types of lung cancer, small cell and non-small cell. Small cell, which is the least common of the two, is mostly found in heavy smokers. It comprises ten to fifteen percent of all lung cancer diagnoses. The other type, non-small cell lung cancer, which occurs in 85 percent of lung cancer cases, is the general term for several cell types that behave in a certain way. These include: squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.
Cigarette smoke is the main cause of lung cancer, with people being exposed directly by smoking or indirectly with secondhand smoke. When someone inhales the carcinogenic smoke, it damages the cells that line the lungs, causing the cells to change instantly. The body can repair the damage initially, but the cells become damaged every time they are exposed to the smoke. After repeated exposures to the damaging smoke, the cells start to act abnormally and cancer can start growing.
Symptoms of lung cancer include:
- Persistent cough
- Coughing up blood
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Losing weight without trying
- Bone pain
In addition to smoking, there are other risk factors that can increase someone’s chance of getting lung cancer. Exposure to radon gas, which is a byproduct of the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water, can increase the risk of getting cancer. Exposures to carcinogens like asbestos can also cause lung cancer. The natural mineral’s fibers can be easily inhaled, becoming lodged in lung tissue and causing not only lung cancer, but mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the lining of the lung.
People who smoke and are exposed to asbestos have as much as a 90 fold increased chance of developing lung cancer.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and now have lung cancer, you may be entitled to compensation. Call us at 412-471-3980 or fill out our contact form to speak to an attorney and learn your options.
Mayo Clinic Staff, “Lung Cancer” Mayo Clinic (April 18, 2018). [Link]