Spotting the early signs of lung cancer

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Thank you very much to Chrissy, working with http://www.seniorsandhealth.com, for this guest blog post on how to spot lung cancer early! A difficult subject that nobody really wants to consider, so we hope these tips will help someone who is feeling a bit unsure about what is going on! 

Early Signs of Lung Cancer That Parents Should Never Ignore

We all know that when you’re a parent, you need to stay healthy. You need all the energy you can get, and you certainly don’t want to become ill – who’s going to look after the kids then? One of the best ways to maintain your health is to listen to your own body. This can help you to spot the early warning signs of a whole range of illnesses, including lung cancer. And the sooner you notice that something is amiss, the sooner you can get yourself checked out and, if it turns out to be necessary, begin treatment and start fighting back.

A model of the human body reflected in a window

The symptoms that will be experienced by someone with lung cancer can vary a great deal, and unfortunately, some people don’t notice any symptoms for quite some time, giving the cancer a chance to get out of control. This means that it’s doubly important to keep a close eye on any changes to your lung health. That way, you will notice if anything is amiss.

What are the early warning signs?

Here’s a guide to the warning signs of lung cancer that you need to be looking out for and that you should never ignore. If you can answer yes to any of the following questions, make an appointment with your GP as soon as you can. In most cases, the doctor will be able to reassure you that nothing serious is wrong, but in those cases where cancer does turn out to be present, it is much easier to treat, and there is a much higher rate of recovery, if it is caught early. Cancers that are left continue to grow, and spread throughout the body, so don’t delay making that appointment.

  • Do you have a cough that you can’t seem to shake, or which sounds or feels different than coughs you’ve had before?
  • Are you getting more chest infections than you usually do?
  • Are you short of breath, or becoming wheezy, when you are doing things that you used to be able to do without any trouble?
  • Are you coughing up blood? If you do, don’t panic. There are several things that could cause this, but you do need to get checked out by a doctor.
  • Have you lost your appetite for no reason?
  • Have you lost weight for no reason, without dieting or doing more exercise
  • Are you feeling unusually tired or lacking in energy?
  • Do you have an ache or pain in or around your shoulder?
  • Are you having difficulty swallowing?

For many parents, the thought of not being around to see their kids grow up is the best incentive there is to stay fit and healthy. So, while many of these symptoms could be harmless and related to a common bug, it is always best to seek medical attention and get the necessary check-ups to diagnose if anything more serious is present.

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…

Have you checked your lemons, melons or mangos? 

How many of us ladies can honestly say that we check ourselves out frequently? When did you last check? I know that we’re not quite as bad as the boys at checking ourselves… But I am very aware that I personally only ever used get round to doing it when I get reminded by online campaigns

CHECK. YOUR BOOBS png

As it is breast cancer awareness week, I thought i’d share my scare experience with our readers in the hope that it might encourage some of you to get checked out, if you’re having any breast related worries!

A few months ago, I finally made the big step in getting myself checked out after having a boobie scare. Why am I telling you lucky lot about it?! Because changes to our breasts honestly need to be spoken about more!

How many of us ladies can honestly say that we check ourselves out frequently? When did you last check? I know that we’re not quite as bad as the boys at checking ourselves… But I am very aware that I personally only ever used get round to doing it when I get reminded by online campaigns etc.

I saw the image above, on Facebook and decided that it was time to confront one of the changes I had noticed since having Florence nearly a year and a half ago. I knew that changes in your breasts and breast tissue was very common after large hormonal changes, like having a baby, but worried because I had a mark that looked like a cross between what these two lemons depicted…

Lovely I know,  but I have no time to blush when I’m here to inform! 

 

I called up my local doctors practice and asked for an appointment to discuss a concern I had with one of my breasts. I was told that as no female doctors were in and that there wasn’t a chaperone available, that I’d have to wait for the duty doctor to call me the following day and book me in, to see a lady. I said that as I was so concerned, I didn’t mind who I discussed my worries with but that I’d prefer to be checked over by a female when I came to practice.

Sure enough, the duty doctor called me the very next morning. I explained my worries over the phone and put me down for an appointment to see a lady doctor for less than an hour later. So off I went!

She asked me what my concerns where and tried to make me feel comfortable before instructing me to remove my upper layers and lye down on the examination table to be checked over. She checked my nipples, breast, armpits and even commented on how my glands felt perfectly normal.

The changes that I had been so worried about, was slight scar tissue, all caused by to me trying to breast feed and pump for almost two months with no supply. She told me that this was nothing to worry about but well worth getting checked out.

I am so relived that my scare was down to nothing more sinister and felt pleased that I had finally been brave enough to seek some help and advice for my worries.

The doctor explained how I could check myself and said that either in the shower, bath, lying or sitting down in bed whilst relaxed would be the perfect time to check myself and to try and do it as frequently as possible (but to aim for once a week!).

How do you check yourself? 

Strictly speaking, there is no right or wrong way to check your breasts. It is so important to know what your breasts usually look and feel like. Then you’ll be more likely to spot any changes quickly and get help from to your GP.

The NHS state that a good way check yourself is to “Look at your breasts and feel each breast and armpit, all the way up to your collarbone. You may find it easiest to do this in the shower or bath, by running a soapy hand over each breast and up under each armpit.
You can also look at your breasts in the mirror. Look with your arms by your side and also with them raised.”

So- when should we seek help or advice from a GP? If you experience any of the following symptoms make sure you book to see your GP as soon as possible…

  • a change in size or shape
  • a lump or area that feels thicker than the rest of the breast
  • a change in skin texture such as puckering or dimpling (like the skin of an orange)
  • redness or rash on the skin and/or around the nipple
  • your nipple has become inverted (pulled in) or looks different in any way.
  • liquid or any discharge that comes from the nipple without squeezing.
  • pains or pangs in your breast or your armpit
  • a swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone.

Any of these changes could be down to normal bodily hormonal changes like puberty, pregnancy, labour, breast feeding or menopause- but please, if anything is new or is worrying you, GET CHECKED OUT…

Useful links-

NHS information about Breast Cancer.
Breast Cancer Care Org

Thank you for reading!
(Please remember that you can never be too safe!)