Lung Cancer Facts: What You Need to Know

Lung cancer is a disease that claims the lives of about 432 Americans every day (Lung Cancer Alliance). It is the leading cause of cancer death, and 80.9% of those affected by lung cancer are current or former smokers. Despite the public awareness about the correlation between smoking and lung cancer, millions of Americans continue to smoke and millions of Americans continue to be affected by lung cancer. Read on for more information about the disease and how to help protect yourself from lung cancer.

What is Lung Cancer?

The lungs are a pair of organs located in the chest that bring oxygen into the body and release carbon dioxide out of the body. Lung cancer is a cancer that forms in these organs. There are two main types of lung cancer: small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Of the two, non-small cell is the more common form. Symptoms of lung cancer include coughing, chest pain, wheezing, and loss of weight. However, individuals rarely notice symptoms early on, meaning that once symptoms are apparent, the cancer is likely advanced.

Causes of Lung Cancer

The most common cause of lung cancer is smoking cigarettes, pipes, or cigars. The risk of cancer increases the more years an individual smokes and the earlier an individual begins smoking. Quitting smoking will help reduce that risk over time. Other factors that increase an individual’s risk of lung cancer include exposure to secondhand smoke, a family history of the disease, radiation therapy, exposure to certain chemicals, and air pollution. Lung cancer is typically detected by a physical exam, laboratory test, or chest x-ray, among other methods of detection.

Treatments for Lung Cancer

In some cases of lung cancer, surgery to remove the tumors is an option. In other cases, doctors may recommend chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Sometimes a combination of these options is used to treat the cancer. Targeted drug therapies, in addition to clinical trials, are newer treatment methods used to target specific cancer cells or mutations. As with all forms of cancer, chances of recovery are higher the earlier the cancer is detected.

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Learn the Basics on Congenital Heart Defects

Since Valentine’s Day is the holiday of love, it only makes sense that the week leading up to the day is Congenital Heart Defects Awareness Week.

We’ve written extensively about heart disease in general — from the basics to prevention to heart healthy foods — but never more specifically about congenital heart defects. Since they are the most common form of birth defects, affecting 40,000 babies in the US annually, it’s important that people know about congenital heart defects.

Today, we’re providing basic information on congenital heart defects, including prevention.

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