Lung cancer adds to the list of lethal diseases for women
A growing number of women are not only at a risk of breast cancer but also lung cancer, according to latest studies. This increased prevalence of lung cancer amongst women is due to the increasing number of young women smoking regularly.
According to statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more deaths take place in US due to lung cancer than any other type of cancer. 95,784 women were diagnosed with lung cancer out of which 70,387 died due to the disease in 2010.
Samantha, a mother of one, found out she suffered from lung cancer at the age of 45 years. But early intervention and removal of the tumor at an early stage helped her to recover from the disease.
The first of signs of cancer appeared when Samantha felt “dull and nagging pain” in her shoulders which continued to worsen, until she was unable to even raise her arms. She also observed that she was losing her stamina and was getting tired too soon. No amount of sleep or rest could shake off the feeling of tiredness. To add to her woes, she also felt she was coughing more often.
All these were warning signs that should have been interpreted long back; however Samantha chose to ignore them. She merely blamed it as stress and strain of a busy and hectic lifestyle.
However since the pain in her arms persisted, she visited a physiotherapist regarding it. Even after four sessions, there was no significant improvement in her condition; therefore the physiotherapist recommended her back to her general physician for steroid injections. However, Samantha by now had a gut feeling that the problem was far worse than it seemed, therefore she requested an X-ray. This was her first step towards diagnosis of breast cancer.
Finding the Truth
After the X-ray the doctor informed that the shoulder was fine but there was a shadow on the lungs which on further tests confirmed being a tumor. She was scheduled for a surgery to remove the tumor and also a lobectomy was carried out.
Samantha was a lucky survivor because two weeks after the surgery tests confirmed that her lymph glands were clear and that the cancer had been removed completely. She also did not need any chemotherapy or radiation, which is remarkable in itself. She realizes that all this was possible due to early detection and timely medical intervention. What did strike Samantha was the fact that one in six sufferers of lung cancer have never previously smoked. This is a clear indication that even if you are not a smoker, like Samantha, second-hand smoke too can raise your chances of lung cancer significantly.
Today Samantha is on a mission to raise awareness about lung cancer, and how like her, even if you are a non-smoker, you are at risk.
Stages of Lung Cancer and Treatment Options
Staging of lung cancer can tell you how big your cancer is and how far it has spread; this helps the doctor determine the treatment plan. The tests and scans give information regarding the stage of cancer; however it is difficult to determine the stage until surgery is performed. There are two ways of staging lung cancer, either by numbering it or through the TNM method. After your healthcare specialist has determined the stage, treatment plan is chalked out. Small cell lung cancer is treated with chemotherapy but in case of non-small cell lung cancer, it is treated with surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy and in some cases a combination of them all.
Scientists believe that if the trends in lung cancer continue to rise, it will become first cause of cancer mortality by 2015. More concentrated efforts by healthcare practitioners and support groups will help in educating the masses the harmful effects of smoking and how lung cancer can be avoided by taking right precautions.