All Posts Tagged: lung cancer

Holding hands - cancer

Cancer – the basics

Cancer is abnormal cell growth.

The cancer cells can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue, including organs. Most areas of the body can be affected.

Cancer is the most common cause of death in Victoria.

What’s the difference between benign and malignant cancer?

You often hear people talking about cancer that is benign or malignant.

Benign cells grow abnormally but do not spread. These cells are not dangerous.

If the cells spread or are capable of spreading to other parts of the body, they are called malignant cancer. These are the dangerous ones.

What are the most common cancers?

There are hundreds of different types of cancer, each with its own methods of diagnosis and treatment. But the top 10 cancers in Australia are:

What are the symptoms of cancer?

Changes to your body’s normal processes or symptoms usually don’t mean you have cancer. But it’s important you see your Pascoe Vale doctor so they can assess and investigate.

Potential signs and symptoms of cancer include:

  • A lump in the neck, armpit or anywhere else in the body
  • Lumpiness or a thickened area in your breasts, any changes in the shape or colour of your breasts, unusual nipple discharge, a nipple that turns inwards (if it hasn’t always been that way) or any unusual pain
  • Sores or ulcers that don’t heal
  • Coughs or hoarseness that won’t go away or coughing up blood
  • Changes in toilet habits that last more than two weeks, blood in a bowel motion or urine
  • New moles or skin spots, or ones that have changed shape, size or colour, or that bleed
  • Unusual vaginal discharge or bleeding
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Diarrhoea or constipation for no obvious reason
  • A feeling of not having fully emptied your bowels after going to the toilet
  • Pain in your abdomen (tummy) or your anus
  • Persistent bloating.

What causes cancer?

Often we don’t know why cancer happens. But there are some things that significantly increase your risk, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, a poor diet, not getting enough exercise and too much radiation from the sun.

Sometimes cancer runs in families. You can inherit genes that make you more likely to get it.

In other cases, cancer is associated with an infection. For example, cervical cancer is associated with some types of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.

Being exposed to some chemicals and dust can also increase your risk.

How can you prevent cancer?

There are a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce your risk. For example, you can improve your diet, do more physical activity, and avoid staying in the sun all day.

Our team of healthcare practitioners can assist you with making these changes.

Government-sponsored programs (e.g. screening tests for bowel, cervical and breast cancer) and other screening tests, as recommended by your doctor, are also available.

Prevention is better than cure!

When should I see my doctor?

There is a much greater chance of successfully treating cancer if it’s detected early. If you notice any changes, contact us immediately.

 

Source: Cancer Australia, BetterHealth, Healthdirect

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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See a doctor in Pascoe Vale if you're at risk of getting lung cancer.

Lung cancer: the facts

Lung cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the lung grow in an uncontrolled way. It often spreads (metastasises) to other parts of the body before the cancer can be detected in the lungs.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of death in Australia with around 12,000 people diagnosed each year. It’s 1 of the 10 most common cancers in both men and women in Australia.

The signs and symptoms of lung cancer can include:

  • a new cough that has persisted for three weeks or more
  • a changed cough
  • coughing up blood
  • a chest infection that won’t go away
  • chest pain and/or shoulder pain
  • shortness of breath
  • hoarse voice
  • weight loss or loss of appetite.

The symptoms of lung cancer can often be vague and mimic those of other conditions, so it’s important to know what your cough is telling you.

What are the risk factors for lung cancer?

Factors that are associated with a higher risk of developing lung cancer include:

  • smoking cigarettes, pipes or cigars currently or in the past – this is the greatest risk factor for lung cancer, and the risk is greatest for people who began smoking early in life, smoked for longer and smoked more often
  • exposure to second-hand smoke
  • personal or family history of lung cancer
  • radiotherapy treatment to the chest
  • exposure to radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can build up inside houses in some areas
  • exposure to asbestos fibres – this also increases the risk of developing mesothelioma, which starts in the lining surrounding the lungs (the pleura) and is not considered a type of lung cancer
  • exposure to other workplace substances, including radioactive ores (e.g. uranium), chromium compounds, nickel, arsenic, soot, tar or diesel fumes
  • exposure to air pollution
  • infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS
  • a history of certain diseases of the lungs, including tuberculosis, fungal infections of the lungs, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pulmonary fibrosis.

Some risk factors are modifiable, such as lifestyle or environmental risk factors, and others cannot be modified, such as inherited factors and whether someone in the family has had cancer.

Having one or more risk factors does not mean that you will develop cancer. Many people have at least one risk factor but will never develop cancer, while others with cancer may have had no known risk factors. Even if a person with cancer has a risk factor, it is usually hard to know how much that risk factor contributed to the development of their disease.

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

November, Lung Cancer Awareness Month, provides the opportunity to raise community awareness of lung cancer and the signs and symptoms of the disease.

Cancer Australia has released a lung cancer awareness video called ‘What’s your cough telling you?’. It highlights symptoms that could be lung cancer and the importance of early assessment by a GP or healthcare worker.

Make a booking today

Are you at risk of getting lung cancer? See your doctor to be sure. Finding lung cancer at an early stage can lead to better outcomes.

Make a booking today with one of our friendly doctors. You can book online, on the Appointuit app or by calling 9304 0500.

 

Source: Cancer Australia

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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