Did you know that every 3.3 seconds someone in the U.S. dies from lung cancer? It also kills nearly twice as many women as breast cancer and more than three times as many men as prostate cancer. It can be a devastating diagnosis for patients and their families because of the high mortality rate compared to other cancers. Early diagnosis of lung cancer is critical, as catching it before it spreads increases the chances of surviving five years or more to 55%. Improve your lung cancer awareness by discovering the risk factors and symptoms of lung cancer with this guide from Chai Urgent Care.
Risk Factors for Developing Lung Cancer
While it’s true that people who smoke have the highest risk of developing lung cancer, and that quitting today can significantly reduce your chances of lung cancer, there are other risk factors that you should be aware of, including exposure to radon gas and a family history of the disease. Some of these additional risk factors include:
- Exposure to second-hand smoke – If you are regularly around people who smoke, it increases your chances of developing lung cancer.
- Exposure to radon gas – Radon, a naturally occurring gas, sometimes accumulates in the home, but can be easily detected with a kit from a home improvement store.
- Exposure to asbestos – For years asbestos was used in insulating materials, such as roofing, as well as the automotive industry. If you worked in the construction or auto industries and were exposed over time, you have a higher chance of developing mesothelioma, a specific type of lung cancer.
- Arsenic in drinking water – While exposure to arsenic in drinking water is rare in the U.S., it can happen. People who have private wells should have them tested.
- Exposure to outdoor air pollution – People who live in cities near high-traffic areas have a slightly higher chance of lung cancer.
- Personal or family history of lung cancer – If a parent or sibling had lung cancer, you have a slightly higher risk. You also have a slightly higher risk of developing another lung cancer if you’ve already been diagnosed with one in the past.
If you’re at higher risk for developing lung cancer, you should discuss your risk factors with your doctor to help ensure added vigilance regarding any cancer-related symptoms you may have now or in the future.
Symptoms Associated with Lung Cancer
The signs of lung cancer may not show up until the disease has progressed to a later stage, which can make a diagnosis in the earliest phase extremely difficult. But because a patient’s prognosis is significantly better the earlier a cancer is caught, you shouldn’t ignore the following symptoms, especially if you are at higher risk for lung cancer.
- A new and/or persistent cough
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing up blood
- Pain in the chest
- Unintended weight loss
- Bone pain
Your doctor can use blood tests, nasal swabs, or a low-dose CT scan to rule out or diagnose lung cancer.
Get Screened for Lung Cancer Today
If you’re at high risk or have any concerns that you may have lung cancer, don’t put off a visit to a doctor. We know you’re busy and the last thing you want to think about is lung cancer, but getting screened can save your life. To accommodate your hectic schedule, Chai Urgent Care is available until midnight every day of the year to provide you with high-quality health care when it’s convenient for you. To learn more, contact us online or visit one of our locations in New Jersey and New York.