Lung cancer is more common in smokers, although it can also strike persons who have never smoked. Lung cancer risk rises with the amount of time spent smoking and the number of cigarettes consumed. Even if you’ve been smoking for a long time, quitting smoking can dramatically reduce your chances of acquiring lung cancer.
Lung cancer signs and symptoms generally appear when the illness is advanced.
Lung cancer symptoms and signs may include:
- Coughing up blood, even if it is just a little quantity
- Breathing difficulty
- Chest ache
- Losing weight without making an effort
- Bone ache
When should you see a doctor?
Make an appointment with your doctor if you are concerned about any persistent signs or symptoms.
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have been unable to quit smoking. Your doctor can advise you on smoking cessation methods such as counseling, medicines, and nicotine replacement products.
The majority of lung cancers are caused by smoking, both in smokers and in individuals exposed to secondhand smoke. However, lung cancer may arise in persons who have never smoked and have never been exposed to secondhand smoke for an extended period of time. There may be no apparent etiology of lung cancer in some situations.
Lung cancer is caused by smoking
Smoking, according to doctors, causes lung cancer by destroying the cells that line the lungs. Changes in lung tissue occur very quickly after inhaling cigarette smoke, which contains cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens).
Initially, your body may be able to heal the harm. However, with each subsequent encounter, normal cells that line your lungs get progressively damaged.
Lung cancer types
Doctors classify lung cancer into two primary kinds depending on how the cells look under a microscope. Your doctor will offer treatment recommendations based on the type of lung cancer you have.
Lung cancer is classified into two types:
Lung cancer with little cells. Small cell lung cancer is almost entirely associated with heavy smokers and is less frequent than non-small cell lung cancer.
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Non-small cell lung cancer is a catch-all phrase for a variety of lung malignancies.
Lung cancer risk factors include:
Secondhand smoke exposure Even if you don’t smoke, being exposed to secondhand smoke raises your chance of developing lung cancer.
Radon gas exposure Radon is created naturally by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water, and it eventually ends up in the air you breathe. Radon levels that are unsafe may build up in any structure, including houses.
Asbestos and other toxins exposure Workplace exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens, such as arsenic, chromium, and nickel, can raise your chance of getting lung cancer, especially if you smoke.
Lung cancer runs in the family
Lung cancer can result in a variety of complications, including:
Breathing difficulty. Shortness of breath can occur in people with lung cancer if the disease spreads to the main airways.
I’m coughing blood. Lung cancer can induce airway bleeding, which can lead you to cough up blood (hemoptysis). Bleeding might become severe at times. There are treatments available to control bleeding.
Pain. Pain can be caused by advanced lung cancer that has progressed to the lining of the lung or to another part of the body, such as the bone. Inform your doctor if you are experiencing discomfort since there are several therapies available.
Fluid in the lungs (pleural effusion). Lung cancer can cause fluid to build up in the area in the chest cavity that surrounds the afflicted lung (pleural space).
Shortness of breath can be caused by fluid collecting in the chest. There are treatments available to remove the fluid from your chest and minimize the likelihood of recurrent pleural effusion.
Spreading cancer to other areas of the body (metastasis). Lung cancer frequently spreads to other areas of the body, including the brain and bones.
Cancer that spreads can cause discomfort, nausea, headaches, and other symptoms, depending on which organ is afflicted. Lung cancer is typically incurable once it has gone beyond the lungs. Treatments are available to assist you to live a longer life by reducing indications and symptoms.
There is no guaranteed method to avoid lung cancer, however, you can lower your risk by doing the following:
Quit smoking. Stop smoking right now. Even if you’ve been smoking for years, quitting lowers your chance of lung cancer. Consult your doctor about quitting smoking techniques and stop-smoking assistance. Nicotine replacement products, medicines, and support groups are all options.
Avoid inhaling secondhand smoke. Avoid smoking locations, such as pubs and restaurants, and look for smoke-free choices.
Radon levels in your house should be checked. Monitorthe radon levels in your house, especially if you reside in a region where radon is a recognized issue. Radon levels above a certain threshold can be reduced to make your house safer. Contact your local department of public health or a local branch of the American Lung Association for further information about radon testing.
Workplace carcinogens should be avoided. Take steps to avoid being exposed to hazardous substances at work. Take the safeguards recommended by your employer. For example, if you’re provided a face mask for safety, make sure you constantly use it. Inquire with your doctor about what more you may do to safeguard yourself at work. If you smoke, your chance of lung damage from occupational toxins increases.
Consume plenty of fruits and veggies. Choose a nutritious diet rich in fruits and vegetables. For example, in order to lower the risk of lung cancer among heavy smokers, researchers gave them beta carotene pills. The supplements actually raised the risk of cancer in smokers, according to the findings.
Most days of the week, you should exercise. Start cautiously if you don’t exercise often. Make an effort to exercise on most days of the week.
Foods that Fight Lung Cancer
You’ve undoubtedly heard a lot about foods that may reduce your chance of acquiring cancer, such as lung cancer. But what if you’ve already been diagnosed with the disease? What should you consume to improve your chances?
Even for experts, thinking about how food may combat cancer can be perplexing.
Part of the reason for this is that there are several ways for this to happen, and there are numerous processes inside each of these mechanisms that may be influenced by what we consume.
Cell metabolism: Components in some meals we eat may play a role in how cancer cells function on a daily basis.
Cell cycle control: When cancer cells divide, they go through a number of stages. Some of these processes may be inhibited by compounds found in particular meals.
Inflammation: Inflammation can play a function not only in cancer formation but also in cancer progression. We’re discovering that the “microenvironment” around cancer cells may have a role in whether or not the disease develops. Some foods include anti-inflammatory qualities that may alter this process.
Angiogenesis: As previously stated, tumors require the formation of new blood vessels in order to grow and expand. Some nutrients inhibit cancer cells’ capacity to form new blood vessels.
Metastasis: There are biochemical mechanisms that drive cancer cells’ capacity to leave their initial location and spread to other parts of the body. Some foods may interfere with signaling pathway stages.
Apoptosis: occurs when cells in our body get damaged or age and our immune system destroy these cells. Cancer cells, on the other hand, have “discovered” how to evade apoptosis. Some foods may provide the body with the necessary boost it requires to remove these aberrant (cancer) cells.
In recent research of non-small cell lung cancer cells produced in the lab, phloretin, present in pears and apples, was found to significantly promote programmed cell death (apoptosis) in these cancer cells. 2 The researchers believed that phloretin might be utilized as an adjuvant in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer in the future.
Phloretin not only acted on lung cancer cells as described above, but it also increased the anticancer impact of cisplatin, a popular chemotherapy medication used to treat lung cancer patients. In addition to its potential cancer-fighting properties, phloretin may help to decrease fibrosis in the lungs, which is often linked with radiation therapy.
Green tea appears to serve double duty in the fight against lung cancer.
While human trials have yet to be conducted, researchers have examined its effects on human lung cancer cells generated in the lab as well as in animals. Compounds such as theaflavin and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) were discovered to enhance the efficacy of the chemotherapy medication cisplatin, which is commonly used to treat lung cancer.
Cisplatin’s efficacy in eradicating cancer cells was boosted by a factor of seven in one portion of the research. Keep in mind that the majority of green tea contains caffeine. If you are caffeine sensitive or it keeps you awake, you should look for a caffeine-free variant or focus on other items on this list. Also, bear in mind that bottled green tea from the supermarket may not be the greatest option. Compounds like ECGC are short-lived, and the quantity present in soft drinks is quite modest.
Finally, you might want to omit the creamer because dairy ingredients can interact with and negate ECGC. Instead, try adding a dash of lemon, which boosts the absorption of this chemical.
Vitamin D has gotten a lot of attention in recent years, and a vitamin D-rich diet may also help patients with lung cancer.
The researchers looked at non-small cell lung cancer cells with an EGFR mutation to determine what effect vitamin D3 may have.
The cells were treated with 25-hydroxyvitamin D3, a vitamin breakdown product that circulates in the blood. Vitamin D3 was shown to suppress the development of lung cancer cells in this environment.
This Vitamin D, which is present in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring, appears to offer additional health advantages, and a vitamin D deficit can lead to a variety of medical issues. Vitamin D may be absorbed outside of the sun, in addition to dietary sources, however, sunscreen interferes with this process. Talk to your oncologist about getting this checked, given its involvement in cancer and how simple it is to determine your level with a simple blood test.
Vitamin D, of all the vitamins and minerals in our diets, maybe the most difficult to obtain in dietary form. However, 15 minutes in the sun in shorts and a T-shirt provides a very healthy daily dosage. That isn’t always doable in colder climates (or for other reasons, such as chemotherapy drugs which raise the risk of a sunburn).
This may assist with chemotherapy-induced nausea, but it may have an even more important function in patients with lung cancer.
Ginger includes the chemical 6-shogaol, which may help prevent the development of lung cancer but, by acting on the pathways that help cancer spread, may reduce the chance of metastases from an existing malignancy. It was proven to be beneficial in treating lung cancer cells in the lab, and it was also discovered that dietary ginger consumption lowered the incidence of lung cancer metastases in mice with lung cancer. This is significant since metastases are the primary cause of mortality in cancer patients.
Ginger is considered to provide additional health advantages, notably in aiding patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Capers are commonly thought of as pea-shaped pickles, but these small flower buds native to the Mediterranean and parts of Asia have much more to offer.
In lung cancer cells, quercetin blocks a signaling pathway that is required for the cells to divide and proliferate. Earlier research discovered that, in addition to suppressing cancer cell development, quercetin also plays a function in cancer cell programmed cell death (apoptosis).
Dill weed, red onions, blueberries, apples, and green and black tea are also high in quercetin.
Curcumin is a chemical found in turmeric, which is used to make curry and other dishes. Turmeric is the yellow spice that gives curry its color. Curcumin has been shown in multiple studies to decrease lung cancer cells’ capacity to invade.
Curcumin has been studied in relation to cancer for a long time since it appears to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-stimulatory properties, as well as accelerating cell death (apoptosis) in cancer cells.
The news is also excellent for those who are currently undergoing cancer therapy. Curcumin may help tumors become more sensitive to the effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, particularly with drugs like cisplatin, a prominent lung cancer chemotherapy agent.
Turmeric is being examined for its function in a range of health disorders, including its possible role in Alzheimer’s disease, in addition to cancer prevention and therapy.
Until then, and since we’re only talking about dietary sources, it probably won’t hurt to include a few dishes that have this vibrant spice in your diet. It’s crucial to remember that curcumin pills must be taken in rather big amounts in order to be absorbed. Three investigations found that at 1.8 grams of curcumin per day as a supplement, curcumin has low availability and is undetectable in the blood of those who take it. Curcumin, on the other hand, is more readily available and absorbed when cooked like curry.
Anthocyanins are chemicals found in berries such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cranberries. For mice implanted with EGFR mutant human lung cancer cells, one type of anthocyanin known as delphinine made a substantial difference.
Defeating tumor growth, limiting tumors’ ability to establish new blood vessels in order to expand (a process known as angiogenesis), and inducing cell death (apoptosis) in cancer cells were all effects of dietary delphinine.
Anthocyanins may also help prevent the formation of blood clots, according to research (thrombosis). Given that 3% to 15% of persons with lung cancer develop blood clots, which is linked to a higher risk of death from the disease, berries may be beneficial in more ways than one.
Carrots are high in chlorogenic acid, a phytochemical that has anti-inflammatory properties. Tumors must create new blood vessels to nourish themselves in order to grow and invade tissues. Some cancer treatments are aimed to stop this process, which is known as angiogenesis. In other words, if the tumor is unable to generate its own blood supply, it will be unable to continue to grow.
In lung cancer, chlorogenic acid appears to impair a signaling pathway that is required for angiogenesis to develop.
This chemical is abundant in carrots, but it can also be found in large amounts in flaxseed, apples, strawberries, potatoes, and pineapple. Carrots are an exception to the norm, as some foods lose their beneficial phytochemicals when cooked.
Resveratrol, a molecule found in red wine, has gotten a lot of press recently, and for good cause.
One of the difficulties in treating lung cancer is that cancer cells have their own minds. They are “smart,” in the sense that they develop resistance to therapies aimed at eradicating them. Compounds like resveratrol, thankfully, have been discovered to sensitize cancers to the effects of treatment. In the case of lung cancer, this vitamin may aid in the efficacy of standard chemotherapy drugs including Taxol (paclitaxel), Platinol (cisplatin), and Iressa (gefitinib). It’s too soon to propose this as a “treatment adjuvant,” but a small amount of resveratrol in your diet can’t hurt. Of course, recommending an alcoholic beverage raises some eyebrows, but don’t be concerned. Red grape juice, as well as other resveratrol-rich foods like dark chocolate and blueberries, packs a significant punch.
A snack of red grape juice, dark chocolate, and blueberries may make a delicious dessert, and it might even make you forget you’re on a lung cancer-fighting diet.
Tomatoes, particularly tomato sauces, contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that can both prevent and treat cancer.
Lycopene plays a role in the progression of cancer at many stages.
It may stop tumors from growing, stop lung cancer cells from dividing, stop cancer from spreading, and help the body rid itself of cancer cells through apoptosis. Furthermore, lycopene possesses anti-inflammatory characteristics that may aid to slow the progression of lung cancer.
Clearly, lycopene exhibits properties that suggest it is a potent cancer fighter.
Oysters are extremely high in mineral zinc. This mineral not only appears to play a direct role in the fight against lung cancer, but it may also enhance the impact of the lung cancer chemotherapy treatment Taxotere (docetaxel).
For individuals who don’t get enough zinc, to begin with, it’s vital to remember that zinc shortage is linked to a decrease in immunity, which is crucial for cancer prevention.
It’s difficult to acquire excellent sources of zinc, so this study looked into taking a supplement rather than relying on food sources of the cancer-fighting nutrient. If you’re allergic to shellfish, you should avoid this, however, many fortified breakfast bowls of cereal do include a significant quantity of zinc.
Watercress is high in is thiocyanates, which not only limit tumor growth by interfering with cancer cells’ ability to divide but also appear to boost the effectiveness of radiation therapy in killing cancer cells.
This substance can also be found in wasabi, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, kohlrabi, and cauliflower, in addition to watercress.
Flaxseed is known to provide health advantages ranging from constipation to hot flashes, and it may also play a role in cancer treatment. Lignin, a component of flax, may be to blame for these side effects.
For persons with lung cancer, radiation therapy is known to cause a variety of adverse effects, including long-term problems such as pulmonary fibrosis. Mice with lung cancer were fed a flax seed-based diet by researchers. They discovered that not only did mice fed flax seeds survive longer but that a flaxseed-rich diet appeared to preserve normal cells from harm while permitting or boosting cancer cell death.
Make your meals an adventure and a happy occasion. Make an effort to set a lovely table. When you’re going through cancer treatment, this may sound exhausting, but it’s a great way to seek the help of those who want to help in some manner. The feeling of helplessness is often cited by family caregivers of cancer patients as the most difficult aspect of coping. Candles should be lit. Play songs that you enjoy. Enjoy every second of your meal. Cancer patients understand that life is too short to do anything else.
Foods to Avoid If Your Immune System Is Stressed
Chemotherapy and other cancer treatments take a toll on your white blood cells, which are your body’s first line of defense against infection. As a result, germs and bacteria found in some meals may have an easier time entering your system.
The majority of suspect foods include the following characteristics: They could be raw, undercooked, or unpasteurized, which means they haven’t been heated properly.
They hide in places where infections might spread, such as restaurant salad bars and grocery store bulk food areas, where a lot of people come in and out.
It’s simple to keep your cart or plate away from potentially dangerous foods if you follow these guidelines:
- The deli should be avoided. Listeria bacterium, which causes food poisoning, can be found in cold cuts, uncooked, dry-cured salami, and readymade meat salads.
- Avoid stepping on the eggs. Eggs, even very fresh ones with pristine shells, may contain salmonella, a germ that causes thousands of cases of food poisoning and a few dozen deaths each year unless they’re thoroughly cooked. Use eggs that haven’t been refrigerated or that have been cracked. Over-easy, poached, soft-boiled, and sunny side up orders will be held. Also avoid raw egg-containing foods such as Caesar salad dressing, smoothies, uncooked cookie dough, homemade mayo, and Hollandaise sauce.
- Don’t consume or eat raw milk or unpasteurized dairy products. Yogurt, soft cheeses like Brie and feta, and Mexican-style cheeses like queso fresco and Blanco are examples. E. coli, listeria, and salmonella are among bacteria that can be found in raw milk.
- Soft-serve yoghurt and ice cream are also on the naughty list. You have no way of knowing what’s inside or if the machines are clean.
- Take your time when browsing the bakery. Anything with a cream or custard filling that hasn’t been chilled should be avoided.
- Stroll through the produce department, through the fresh salad dressings, salsa, and other items. In the condiment aisle, now is the time to stick to shelf-stable brands.
- Alfalfa, broccoli, and radish sprouts should not be eaten raw. Bacteria love the damp, warm environment that sprouts thrive in.
- Leafy greens may appear fresh and attractive, but dirt can be hidden beneath their huge leaves. For the time being, it’s better to clean properly or avoid hard-to-clean fruit.
- Raw honey, raw nut butters, and unpasteurized juices should all be avoided.