Lung cancer is diagnosed in one in 13 men in the UK, according to Cancer Research UK. For women, one in 15 will have the condition. Which recurrent infection may signal the deadly disease?
According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, one early warning sign of lung cancer is recurrent bronchitis.
What is bronchitis?
The NHS explains: “Bronchitis is an infection of the main airways of the lungs (bronchi), causing them to become irritated and inflamed.”
The main airways branch off on either side of the windpipe (trachea).
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Its walls produce mucus to trap dust, and other particles, that may otherwise cause irritation,
Inflamed airways produce excess mucus, which the body tries to shift through coughing.
Chronic bronchitis is a daily productive (phlegm-producing) cough that lasts for three months of the year, two years in a row.
The phlegm may be clear, yellow-grey or green in colour.
Other symptoms of bronchitis are similar to those of a common cold or sinusitis. These are:
- Sore throat
- Runny or blocked nose
- Aches and pains
The NHS affirmed: “It’s important that you stop smoking if you have bronchitis.”
Repeated episodes of bronchitis are concerning, and must be brought to the attention of your GP.
The British Lung Foundation (BLF) outline other common warning signs of lung cancer.
The charity stated that lots of chest infections, chest pain and feeling tired are symptoms of the deadly condition.
Moreover, feeling out of breath either at rest or when doing day-to-day tasks is another sign.
Additionally, some people may experience fatigue, appetite loss, weight loss and a hoarse voice.
For cancerous tumours that have spread outside of the lungs, the first symptoms of the disease may not come from the chest at all.
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Instead, symptoms might include back pain, bone pain or fracture, confusion, swallowing difficulties and jaundice (yellowing of the skin).
The deadly disease could even reveal itself through nerve or brain damage.
For example, this may affect the way someone walks, talks, behaves or their memory.
After speaking with your GP, if lung cancer is suspected you’re likely to be referred to a special clinic at the hospital.
It’s called the rapid access clinician, or urgent cancer clinic.
In England, you should see a specialist within two weeks of referral – regardless of the coronavirus pandemic.
There are an array of tests that may possibly be performed to make a diagnosis.
These include a CT scan, biopsy, bronchoscopy and a PET-CT scan.
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