You’ve never smoked in your life. Therefore, you can never have lung cancer, right? Wrong. Lung cancer doesn’t only develop in smokers and is the leading cancer killer in South Africa.
In fact, 20% of lung cancer deaths are from non smokers. Therefore, how can someone that’s never smoked get lung cancer? Well, according to Dr Robert McKenna, a thoracic surgeon at Providence Saint John’s Health Center, radon exposure is usually the cause. Radon is an scentless gas found in homes.
There are other air pollutants that can cause lung cancer including second-hand smoke and general air pollution. Furthermore, the asbestos also plays a big role. Therefore, whether you’ve smoked for the last 15 odd years or have never ever smoked, it’s important that you’re aware of the symptoms of lung cancer!
Common symptoms of lung cancer
Unexplained weight loss
It’s exciting to lose weight without exercising or changing diet. However, you should be concerned if you’re losing weight without trying! As with any cancer, an advanced tumor can make proteins tell your body to lose weight. Therefore, have that unexplained weight loss checked.
Weak hip muscles
It’s weird how struggling to get up out of a chair can be lung cancer warning sign. Well, lung cancer can take a toll not only on your lungs, but on your muscles, too. And, one of the first areas it goes for are your hips.
According to Dr Jack Jacoub, as soon as lung cancer spreads to your organs it causes a deep ache in the joints and bones usually starting around your hips and back. Get your vitamin D levels checked first if this is the only symptom you’re experiencing, as aching bones are a sign of vitamin D deficiency.
In most cases, viruses cause lung infections such as chronic bronchitis. However, sometimes, a lung infection could indicate that you have lung cancer. This is especially true if you’re always getting sick, and the sickness is related to your chest or lungs.
A persistent cough is one of the earliest signs of lung cancer. So, if you’re coughing up a thick, bloody mucus, your body could warning you of something more serious. If you have a dry cough that doesn’t go away for more than a month, speak to your doctor about it.