Lung cancer can be a deadly disease, but earlier treatment increases the likelihood of survival. What’s the recurrent warning sign that you may need to get checked out?
Cancer Research UK is a charity committed to raising awareness of the disease and raising funds for research.
One symptom of lung cancer, pointed out by the charity, is a recurring chest infection.
The NHS explains that this condition is an infection of the lungs or large airways.
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Typically following a cold or flu, a chest infection presents with more than a handful of symptoms.
For instance, a chesty cough – that may produce green or yellow mucus – is a sign of a chest infection.
Another sign is wheezing and shortness of breath, as well as chest pain or discomfort.
Additionally, you may have a fever (reading 38 degrees Celsius and above), or a headache.
Aching muscles isn’t unusual for a chest infection, and one may feel very tired.
Although unpleasant, symptoms of a chest infection tend to get better within 10 days. However, the cough and mucus can last up to three weeks.
The NHS has advice for those who keep getting chest infections – to stop smoking.
Smoking irritates the lungs, and it is the main cause of lung cancer.
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Cancer Research confirms that smoking causes around seven in 10 cases of lung cancer in the UK.
The charity adds: “The link between smoking and cancer is very clear. It causes at least 15 different types of cancer.”
Harmful chemicals in tobacco have been found to damage DNA, and “it is the build-up of damage in the same cell that can lead to cancer”.
Cigarette smoke releases more than 5,000 different chemicals, some of which damages DNA and others that interfere with how cells repair DNA damage.
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However, “it’s never too late to stop”, the NHS says. The health body states “a craving can last five minutes”.
To help give up the bad habit for life, it’s suggested that smokers make a list of five-minute strategies to keep you occupied.
There’s also support available from your local stop smoking service – their helpline is 0300 123 1044.
The helpline is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm, and on the weekends it’s open from 11am to 4pm.
Aside from a recurrent chest infection, there are other symptoms of lung cancer too.
Cancer Research UK has compiled a list of lung cancer symptoms. These are:
- Having a cough most of the time
- Having a change in a cough you have had for a long time – it may sound different or be painful when you cough
- Getting out of breath doing the things you used to do without a problem
- Coughing up phlegm (sputum) with blood in it
- Having an ache or pain in the chest or shoulder
- Losing your appetite
- Feeling tired all the time (fatigue)
- Losing weight
The charity has found that around three in 20 people diagnosed with lung cancer in England will survive their disease for five years or more.
But, if diagnosed at the earliest stage, almost nine in 10 cases will survive their disease for five years or more.
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