Lung cancer is one of Australia’s biggest cancer killers. However, unlike other forms of cancer, there is a lack of awareness about this disease.
This November as we celebrate Lung Cancer Awareness Month across the globe, it brings a great opportunity to promote awareness for this deadly disease and educate people on preventing and managing it.
Thankfully we know the major cause of lung cancer – the use of tobacco. This month, our medical team from GPs on Curzon hopes to debunk some topics associated with lung cancer and how visiting a GP can be effective in helping you or your loved one to quit smoking for a healthier future.
The use of tobacco is the major cause of lung cancer
Did you know that a single cigarette has over 600 ingredients and when burned, it creates more than 7000 types of chemicals?
Yes, a single cigarette has many cancer-causing chemicals out of which 69 of them are already known to cause cancers.
The lungs that form our body’s respiratory system are two spongy organs in the chest that take in oxygen when we inhale and release carbon-di-oxide when we exhale. So, when we smoke tobacco, this natural flow of oxygen and carbon-dioxide gets restricted causing a myriad of health issues including lung cancers in the long run.
Smoking also causes inflammation and continued smoking can build-up scar tissues which lead to physical changes in your lungs, making it difficult for smokers to breathe easy.
A good way to notice lung cancer is to be aware of your early signs and symptoms
One of the worse things about lung cancer is that there are no noticeable symptoms until cancer starts spreading. However, there are still likely early signs that may tell you to perhaps visit your doctors immediately.
Look out for signs like:
- Headaches that can also lead to migraines in worse cases
- Unexplained loss of body weight
- Loss of energy levels
- Shortness of breath and changes in your breathing habit such as breath heavily while carrying out physical work
- Wheezing when you breathe caused due to inflammation in the lungs
- Bone pain when cancer starts spreading which can be worse during the night and with movements.
- Chest pain that is persistent within the same area
Saying no to smoking is a tough decision, but GPs can lead you the right way
It is understandable that quitting to smoke is a daunting task, probably one of the toughest things you will ever do, yet millions of people across the world have been able to do it – and so can you!
The best way to start your “breathe easy life” is to seek help from GPs. They are well-trained and experienced in providing smoking cessation treatment and can guide you with the best combinations of practices that can effectively help you stub that last smoke.
Read through on how GPs might be the best choice to start your journey.
1) GPs can prescribe a Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Nicotine replacement therapy aims to reduce nicotine addiction and reduce your withdrawals that occur when you stop smoking.
This therapy comes in many forms such as patches, tablets, gums or inhalers and it would be your doctor to recommend the best form that would suit you.
2) GPs can also prescribe medications
Medications like Bupropion are prescribed to help reduce the effects of withdrawals. These medications work by blocking the nicotine receptors in the brain that makes smoking less enjoyable.
3) Support and encouragement throughout your smoke-free journey
GPs are often your first point of contact as well as acts as a mediator between many specialists. Likewise, they also form an integral part of your smoking cessation program.
They can help with behavioural support along with organising referrals to support groups such as Quitline, counseling groups or tobacco treatment specialists.