Lung Cancer

    Inspirational Testimonial from Survivor Rosie Lewis

    "We all know that any charity does good work - so why would the Cayman Islands Cancer Society be any different?

    "The difference is the personal approach and the length that the Cancer Society here in Cayman goes to support it's 'members'.

    "I had the misfortune to become one of its 'members' back in 2004 when I was diagnosed with lung cancer, but it was and is an experience that continues to change my life.  Far from supplying just practical advice which you would expect I was surprised at how in depth their support is and continues to be.  They managed to make me feel that they genuinely cared about me and my story and their help far outweighed my expectations... read more

    Explanation

    Lung cancer develops when this process occurs in the lungs.  This type of cancer often develops slowly.  There are three types of lung cancer: small cell lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, and lung carcinoid tumor.

    Who is at Risk?

    Both men and women who smoke are at high risk of developing lung cancer. The risk increases with age. Studies now show that in women lung cancer is increasing at an alarming rate as more women have started smoking. People who are exposed to second hand smoke and chemicals and pollutants are also at increased risk.

    Signs and Symptoms

    Persistent coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, repeated bouts of pneumonia or bronchitis, coughing up blood, fatigue, loss of appetite, pain, and weight loss.

    Prevention

    Over 85% of lung cancer is due to smoking. Your local Cancer Society has books, videos, and programs to help you quit smoking. If you are a nonsmoker make sure that no one smokes around you. You have the right to smoke-free air. Work with your employer to ensure a smoke-free workplace. Be sure not to allow smoking around children! Many lung problems are due to exposure to smoke.

    Diagnosis

    Screening tests are done on persons who have no signs or symptoms of a disease.  There is no standard or routine screening test for lung cancer recommended by any major scientific or medical organisation at this time.  it has not yet been shown that screening for lung cancer with either of the following tests decreases the chance of dying from lung cancer: chest x-ray and sputum cytology.

    • Chest X-ray - A chest x-ray is an x-ray of the organs and bones inside the chest.  An x-ray is a type of energy beam that can go through the body and onto film, making a picture of areas inside the body.
    • Sputum Cytology - Sputum cytology is a procedure in which as sample of sputum (mucus that is brought up from the lungs by coughing) is viewed under a microscope to check for cancer cells.

    Treatment Options

    Depending on the location and stage of the cancer, surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are used. Sometimes, a combination of therapies are used. Survival rates for most lung cancers detected is less than 35%.

    Other

    There are a few other risk factors which increase the likelihood of an individual to develop lung cancer:

    • Radon - this naturally occurring radioactive gas that forms from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks is the second leading cause of lung cancer, and the leading cause among non-smokers.
    • Asbestos - workplace exposure to asbestos fibers is an important risk factor for lung cancer.
    • Personal or Family History - if you have had lung cancer, you have a higher risk of developing another lung cancer.  Having parents or siblings diagnosed with lung cancer may slightly increase one's risk as well.