Sunday, March 3, 2024

Early Signs Of Lung Cancer In Seniors

What To Know About Lung Cancer In The Elderly

Symptoms of lung cancer

Lung cancer is the most common form of cancer in America. The majority of people diagnosed with lung cancer are over the age of 70 years old, and they tend to be more sensitive to the side effects associated with treatment.

While it may seem like a death sentence for someone who has lived to their golden years, some options can extend life expectancy and improve quality of life. If you or someone you know is elderly and is diagnosed with this disease, its important to understand what your options are so that you can make an informed decision about your next steps forward.

To learn more about lung cancer in the elderly, read on!

Risk Factors Of Lung Cancer

First, its important to note if you are at higher risk for lung cancer. Some factors such as being a smoker, living with a smoker, or certain chemical exposure can cause lung cancer. While these things may be risk factors, there are also other more surprising signs of lung cancer you should know about.

  • Hoarseness/Difficulty Speaking
  • Types Of Lung Cancer In Women

    The symptoms of lung cancer usually are determined by its location in the lungs. Symptoms depend on the type of lung cancer causing them, as well.

    There are two major categories of lung cancer:

    • Non-small cell lung cancer : NSCLC is the most common type, accounting for roughly 85% of lung cancers. NSCLC includes different subtypes that have various characteristics.
    • Small cell lung cancer : SCLC is less common than in the past, and accounts for roughly 10%15% of lung cancers. It is the type of lung cancer most strongly associated with smoking. Small cell lung cancers tend to grow near the large airways. Because of this, they tend to cause symptoms early such as a cough, coughing up blood, wheezing, and repeated respiratory tract infections.

    A third category, carcinoid tumors, makes up 1%2% of lung tumors. These tumors are not associated with smoking and tend to occur in younger women. Many of these tumors are very slow-growing tumors.

    Non-small cell lung cancers are, in turn, broken down into:

    Recommended Reading: What To Expect With Chemo And Radiation

    How Can You Treat Lung Cancer

    The type of treatment for lung cancer depends on the type of cancer. People with NSCLC can be treated with a combination of:

    • Surgery: Surgeons remove the cancerous tissue in a minimally invasive procedure.
    • Chemotherapy: Systemic medication that destroys cancerous cells by oral medicine or intravenous infusion. It may be used to shrink a tumor or as standalone treatment.
    • Radiation therapy: High-dose X-rays that shrink swollen lymph nodes, decrease tumor size and kill cancer cells.
    • Brachytherapy: High-dose radiation that spares healthy surrounding tissue.
    • Immunotherapy: Harnesses the patients immune system to precisely recognize and destroy highly targeted cancer cells without harming healthy tissue and often with fewer side effects.
    • Interventional radiology: Diagnostic and therapeutic treatment for lung cancer through:
    • Embolization: Cuts off blood supply to a tumor that feeds cancer cells.
    • Radiofrequency ablation: A nonsurgical, minimally invasive procedure that uses radiofrequency waves to heat up a small area of nerve tissue to stop it from sending pain signals.
    • Chemoembolization: Biodegradable beads with chemotherapy that target the tumor and stop blood flow. The chemo drugs stay out of the bloodstream so they produce fewer side effects.
    • Microwave ablation: Microwaves heat and kill tumor cells while being guided by CT or MRI for lung cancer with few cancerous lesions.

    How Is Lung Cancer Treated

    Unusual Signs of Lung Cancer You Should Not Ignore

    Medical specialists can treat lung cancer in different ways. The type of treatment a medical team recommends for you will depend on several factors including the type of cancer, its stage, your general health and the goal of treatment. The most suitable treatment will also depend on whether the cancer started in your lung or spread from another part of your body . In the case of a metastasis to the lung, the treatment is usually chosen based on the location of the primary cancer.

    Types of cancer treatments can include:

    • surgery, to cut out the cancer this includes a lobectomy where one lobe of a lung is removed, a pneumonectomy, where one whole lung is removed, or a wedge resection where only part of a lung is removed
    • radiotherapy, which damages cancer cells and stops them dividing or spreading
    • chemotherapy, which uses strong medicines to kill cancer cells
    • targeted therapy, which uses medicine that attacks specific features of a cancer for example, certain genetic mutations
    • immunotherapy, which helps your immune system see cancer cells and kill them

    Your medical team may recommend one or a combination of these treatments, depending on your situation.

    Cancer treatment may be given with the aim of removing all signs of cancer . In other cases, the goal may be to relieve symptoms and maximise quality of life without necessarily curing the cancer completely.

    Also Check: Metastatic Breast Cancer Access To Care Act

    Paraneoplastic Syndromes And Lung Cancer

    Sometimes, SCLC can cause paraneoplastic syndromes. While not always the case, these syndromes are often early signs of SCLC.

    SCLC may cause one of these three paraneoplastic syndromes: Syndrome of Inappropriate Anti-Diuretic Hormone , Cushing Syndrome or Lambert-Eaton Syndrome. Symptoms of paraneoplastic syndromes include muscle cramps, muscle weakness, elevation of calcium in the blood and clubbing, which refers to a change in the shape of the finger tips.

    What Are The Complications Of Lung Cancer

    Some people with lung cancer will develop symptoms, such as shortness of breath, a cough and/or chest pain, because of how the cancer affects the lungs function. As it advances, lung cancer may cause other complications. These can include fluid build-up in the space around your lung . Lung cancer can also affect your appetite and you may lose weight. You may feel very fatigued and/or have difficulty sleeping.

    You may also experience these symptoms and others as side effects of lung-cancer treatments.

    Your medical team has a lot of experience in treating symptoms and complications of lung cancer and can give you advice and support to manage them.

    Even if you are receiving cancer treatment, there is still a chance that your cancer can spread to another part of your body . If this happens, you and your medical team may adjust your cancer treatment plan.

    Read Also: Natural Remedies For Chemo Rash

    Lung Cancer Symptoms In Women And Men

    Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer diagnosed in both men and women , according to the American Cancer Society . Only prostate cancer is more common for men, and breast cancer is more common for women.

    However, lung cancer is the No. 1 cause of cancer death for both genders by far compared with other cancers. Below is a look at the statistics.

    • About 117,910 men and 118,830 women are expected to be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2022, according to the ACS, with an estimated 68,820 deaths among men and 61,360 among women.
    • The number of men diagnosed with lung cancer has decreased in the past four-plus decades, according to the American Lung Association. Diagnosis rates among women were on the rise during the same time period but have started to decline.
    • Women tend to be diagnosed at an earlier age than men.
    • Women who develop lung cancer before menopause are more likely to be diagnosed with advanced disease.

    Early Signs Of Lung Cancer

    Lung Cancer Warning Signs II Lung Cancer Symptoms

    When it comes to cancer, early detection is generally the key to successful treatment. Lung cancer is no exception. Many types of cancer do not always present symptoms until the tumors have significantly progressed, and other forms present symptoms that are subtle enough or resemble other illnesses not to be taken seriously initially.

    Knowing the risk factors associated with lung cancer, and how they affect you individually should be part of every comprehensive wellness and health care plan. Although cancer cannot always be predicted or avoided, understanding the early warning signs of lung tumors can help to increase the likelihood of early detection and successful treatment.

    Don’t Miss: What To Wear To Chemo

    Face And Neck Swelling

    Swelling in the face and neck can occur when the tumor in the lung secretes hormones, making it look like the patient has been taking steroids, says Readers Digest. Signs include weight gain, a fat deposit in the top of the back, and facial swelling thats sometimes referred to as a moon face, writes the source. This is often due to a complication of lung cancer known as superior vena cava syndrome, explains VeryWell Health. It can cause swelling in not only the face and neck but also in the arms and dilated veins in the neck and chest. These symptoms occur when tumors in the lungs press on the superior vena cava, the large blood vessel returning blood to the heart.

    Dr. Weisler told Readers Digest that once the tumor is removed these symptoms should go away.

    Signs And Symptoms Of Lung Cancer

    Lung cancer symptoms don’t appear until the later stages when cancer starts to spread . In some instances, people may experience symptoms in the early stages of lung cancer. If you are experiencing any symptoms, see a doctor as soon as possible. Treatment is more likely to be effective if you catch it in the earlier stages.

    Everyone is different and will experience different symptoms due to the location of the tumor and type of lung cancer. Symptoms can be related to the lungs or other parts of the body where cancer has spread or have general symptoms of not feeling well. Most people with lung cancer won’t experience symptoms until the cancer is advanced. If you are at high risk of developing lung cancer, paying attention to the early warning signs is critical.

    Also Check: How To Save Eyebrows During Chemo

    Does Lung Cancer Affect Men Or Women More

    Lung cancer incidence is greater in men than women, but the gap is decreasing. The overall likelihood that a man will develop lung cancer over the course of his life is about 1 in 15 , but for a woman, the risk is about 1 in 17 .

    These numbers include both smokers and nonsmokers. For smokers, the risk is even higher. About 116,300 men and 112,520 women will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2020, while approximately 72,500 men and 63,220 women will die.

    Men and women experience aspects of lung cancer differently:

    • Women are diagnosed at a younger age than men by 2 years.
    • Women are more likely to have distinguishable genetic changes related to their cancer.
    • Women typically respond to many chemotherapy medications for lung cancer better than men.
    • Women are more likely to survive at all stages of lung cancer.

    However, it is crucial to be aware that lung cancer occurs in both men and women.

    Can Lung Cancer Be Cured


    Yes, lung cancer can be treated and you can survive a lung cancer diagnosis. However, survival rates vary depending on the type and stage of lung cancer at the time of diagnosis. Lung cancer often has a very serious prognosis, but those with earlier diagnoses have increased chances of survival. Even when projecting the future cancer mortality risk within the next decade, lung cancer will remain at the top of the list.

    When evaluating those with advanced lung cancer symptoms and signs, the survival rate decreases substantially. The overall likelihood of living 5 years with NSCLC is 24% and drops to 6% with SCLC.

    You May Like: Prostate Cancer Metastasis To Lung

    Loss Of Or Hoarse Voice

    Difficulty producing sounds or abnormal changes in speech sounds may be a symptom of early lung cancer.

    In advanced lung cancer cases, loss of voice or hoarseness is a common symptom that can be caused by several factors.

    • Lung cancer may affect or damage the nerves controlling the larynx .
    • Additionally, if a tumor expands to the area between the lungs, it can put pressure on the larynx.
    • People with lung cancer often suffer from chronic coughing, which can also cause loss of voice.

    Each of these factors can cause your voice to change or disappear completely.

    The most common cause of voice loss is laryngitis. However, If you experience hoarseness or loss of voice for more than two weeks you should see your primary care doctor.

    Metastatic Lung Cancer Symptoms

    Metastatic lung cancer symptoms depend on the part of the body to which the cancer has spread, as well as the size and location. Sometimes, metastatic disease may not cause any symptoms, though about 30 percent to 40 percent of people with lung cancer will have symptoms of metastasis.

    • If the cancer has spread to the bones, it may cause bone pain, often in the vertebrae or ribs. Other symptoms include fractures, constipation or decreased alertness due to high calcium levels.
    • If the liver is affected, symptoms may include nausea, extreme fatigue, increased abdominal girth, swelling of the feet and hands due to fluid collection, and yellowing or itchy skin.
    • If either the brain or spinal cord is affected, symptoms may include headache, blurred or double vision, difficulty with speech or seizures.

    Lung cancer treatment: The care you need is one call away

    Your multidisciplinary team will work with you to develop a personalized plan to treat your lung cancer in a way that fits your individual needs and goals.

    Recommended Reading: Best At Home Colon Cancer Test

    What Are The Most Common Symptoms Of Lung Cancer

    The most common signs of lung cancer are:

    • A chronic cough that does not go away or gets worse
    • Coughing up bloody spit or mucus
    • Chest pain that worsens with laughing, deep breaths or coughing
    • Lung infections that dont go away or keep coming back
    • Difficulty swallowing
    • Swelling in veins of face or neck

    When men get lung cancer, they are more likely to get squamous cell lung cancer, the most common type to occur in people who smoke. There are more obvious symptoms with squamous cell cancer so it is often diagnosed early. Early diagnosis greatly improves the likelihood of survival. Thus, lung cancer symptoms in men are typically more obvious than lung cancer symptoms in women.

    Early Signs Of Lung Cancer You Should Be Aware Of

    Lung Cancer, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

    Lung cancer refers to cancer that begins in the lungs. According to the American Cancer Society, there are two main types of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer . NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for about 85 percent of all cases. The three main subtypes of NSCLC are adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma. SCLC accounts for the remaining 15 percent of lung cancers.

    Lung cancer is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The most important risk factor for developing lung cancer is smoking cigarettes. Other risk factors include exposure to secondhand smoke, radon gas, asbestos, and air pollution. There are several symptoms associated with lung cancer, though they may vary depending on the type and stage of the disease. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor right away so that the cause can be determined and appropriate treatment can be initiated. Here are some of the most common symptoms to be aware of.

    Recommended Reading: 2nd Chemo Worse Than 1st

    Change In Voice Or Hoarse Voice

    Changes in your voice can be an indicator of lung cancer development. A symptom that is associated with early lung cancer is difficulty producing sounds or changes in speech sounds. In advanced lung cancer cases, loss of voice or hoarseness is a common symptom that can be caused by several factors. Lung cancer may affect the nerves that control the larynx . Additionally, a tumor that has expanded to the area between the lungs, can put pressure on the larynx. Chronic coughing, which can be attributed to having lung cancer, can also cause loss of voice.

    Early Warning Signs Of Small Cell Lung Cancer

    Small cell lung cancer progresses quickly, and symptoms typically appear when cancer has advanced to other organs.

    Early signs can include:

    • A cough that is persistent or worsens

    • Coughing up blood or rust-colored phlegm

    • Pain in the chest, back, or shoulders that worsens during coughing, laughing, or deep breathing

    • Shortness of breath

    • Unexplained weight loss and loss of appetite

    • Feeling tired or weak

    • Bronchitis or pneumonia that reoccur

    • Hoarseness or wheezing

    Recommended Reading: Deodorant That Doesn’t Cause Breast Cancer

    Shoulder And Arm Pain

    Most pain in the shoulder and arm has nothing to do with lung cancer. However, in rare instances, these symptoms may result from Pancoast tumors. These tumors form at the top of the lungs and often spread to surrounding areas, like the vertebrae or ribs. Initially, they may produce a sharp and constant pain in the shoulder, which can later expand to the inner arm, hand, and fingers.

    What Are The Main Causes Of Lung Cancer

    Lung Diseases

    The primary cause of lung cancer is smoking. In fact, more than 90% of all cases are caused by tobacco use.

    There are many other risk factors for lung cancer, including:

    • Genetics: Inherited genetic mutations can reduce someones ability to repair damaged DNA or eliminate carcinogens leading to lung cancer. Genetic mutations increase the risk of developing lung cancer whether the person is a nonsmoker or smoker.
    • Age: Most people diagnosed with lung cancer are age 65 or older and the average age of diagnosis is 70.
    • African American men are 15% more likely to develop lung cancer than white men.
    • However, African American women are less likely to get lung cancer than white women.
    • Overall risk by race:
    • White/non-Hispanic and African American people are more likely to get lung cancer than indigenous , Asian or Hispanic .
  • Sex: African American and white women have lower rates of lung cancer than men, but the overall rate has been dropping among men over the last few decades.
  • Don’t Miss: Chances Of Getting Colon Cancer

    Latest news
    Related news