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Cancer of the Lung

LUNG CANCER

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in men, and lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women. According to the Men's Health Network, twice as many men die from lung cancer than women. Men smokers are approximately 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer than non-smokers. 90% of lung cancer deaths of men are caused by smoking, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Lung cancer is a cancer that begins in the lungs, it does not spread to the lungs from other organs. Risk factors for lung cancer include, smoking, being around others who smoke, radon gas, or other things around us at home or work, and a family history of lung cancer.

Some have no symptoms of lung cancer, and some experience many different symptoms. Symptoms can include shortness of breath, chest pain, chronic coughing, wheezing, coughing up blood, weight loss, and fever. Repeated bouts of pneumonia, enlarged or swollen lymph nodes in the lower neck and upper chest, and changes in fingertip shapes are other possible symptoms. Talk to a doctor immediately if you have any of these symptoms, as they could be symptoms of other serious illnesses as well.

Types of treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, alone or in combination. Surgery involves cutting out and removing cancerous tissue. Chemotherapy uses drugs, given intravenously or in pill form, to kill or shrink the cancerous tissue. Radiation kills cancer cells with high-energy rays, much like x-rays. Chemotherapy and radiation have adverse side effects in many, so speak to your doctor about these. Complementary and alternative therapies, such as Coenzyme Q10, the Gonzalez Regimen, milk thistle, and the Newcastle disease virus are being studied, but their effects have not been proven as of yet. Clinical trials of experimental drugs and treatments are available for those suffering from lung cancer.

Smoking cigarettes is a major cause of lung cancer. People that have never smoked experience a lower risk of developing lung cancer than people who quit smoking, but quitting smoking greatly reduces your chance of getting lung cancer. Cancer of the larynx (voice box), mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, pancreas, cervix, and stomach are also caused by smoking. Cigar and pipe smoking also increase the risk for lung cancer, but to a lesser extent than cigarette smoking.

There are over 4,000 chemicals in second hand cigarette smoke, and over 50 of these are known to cause cancer in animals and people. There are other substances known to cause lung cancer, such as radon gas, asbestos, arsenic, and some types of silica and chromium, which you can be exposed to in your home or workplace. If you are in contact with these substances and you smoke, your risk of lung cancer is even higher. Higher risks of lung cancer occur if your family history includes lung cancer in a parent, sibling, or children. These risks can be because of genetics, or shared exposure to cancer causing substances.

A healthy diet can reduce your risk for lung cancer, but cannot be compared to the reduced risk of stopping smoking. Diets high in fruits, vegetables, vitamin C and E, selenium, and cartenoids may lower your risks. Remember, the reduced risk with a proper diet pales in comparison to the reduced risk by quitting smoking.

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