Daily News: Disease

Detect symptoms early to fight lung cancer

Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates)

11-26-13

Nov. 25--Lung cancer is caused by the growth of abnormal cells in the lung, forming tumours.

An oncologist has urged people to identify early symptoms of lung cancer so that it can be diagnosed in the early stages, which in turn, boosts the chances of survival.

Lung cancer is caused by the growth of abnormal cells in the lung, forming tumours. As these tumours grow in size, they undermine the lung's ability to supply oxygen through the bloodstream. Most of these tumours tend to be malignant and spread to the other parts of the body, causing the cancer to spread.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), lung cancer is one of the leading cause of death, accounting for 1.37million deaths globally.

November being the World Lung Cancer Awareness month, Dr Aref Chehal, medical oncology consultant at Mafraq Hospital Abu Dhabi, said, "We often receive cases, where the patients have delayed diagnosis due to ignorance and low awareness about the disease. It is very important for people to identify the early symptoms like persistent coughing, chronic bronchitis and blood in the cough, and undergo immediate investigations. There are more chances to fight lung cancer successfully if it is detected at an early stage," said Dr Chehal.

The most common symptoms of lung cancer are persistent coughing; pain in the chest, shoulder or back from coughing; change in the colour of mucus; difficulty in breathing or swallowing; hoarseness of the voice; harsh sound while breathing; chronic bronchitis or pneumonia; and coughing up blood.

Physicians use common imaging techniques like chest X-rays, bronchoscopy (a thin tube with a camera on one end), CT scans, MRI scans and PET scans to determine if the symptoms are caused by lung cancer. "Main cause of lung cancer is the presence of carcinogens in the air. Tobacco, asbestos, arsenic, radiation such as gamma and x-rays, the sun and compounds in car exhaust fumes are all examples of carcinogens. Majority of the cases are caused by carcinogens inhaled with tobacco smoke."

Depending on the stage in which lung cancer is detected, oncologists undertake suitable treatment path like surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and medications.

asmaalizain@khaleejtimes.com

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