Lung cancer is amongst the most prevalent types of cancer in the world. In the United States, lung cancer cases contribute to more annual deaths than ovarian, prostate, and breast cancer combined, making it the country’s primary cause of cancer-related deaths.
That can be alarming for many, but the good news is that lung cancer is better understood than other forms of cancer, at least in terms of its risk factors. And if you can catch it early, then that means you can get a head start on conventional or holistic treatment for lung cancer. While a professional diagnosis is the best way to go, there are some potential ways you can do a lung cancer diagnosis at home. How to test yourself for lung cancer on your own? Read on below to find out.
Looking for Common Signs and Symptoms
Staying mindful of common lung cancer symptoms and signs is the best way to discover early lung cancer. Unfortunately, everyone is different. Some individuals with lung cancer may not show any symptoms until the spread of lung cancer or once it becomes high risk, advancing to a more severe stage. Some of the most common lung cancer symptoms include:
- A sudden, persistent cough – Coughing is a regular reflex most often linked to the cold and flu. Even after your cold has gone away, you may continue coughing for a few weeks if your lungs are sensitive. However, if you have a sudden cough that won’t go away and isn’t noticeably tied to a recent bacterial or viral infection, you may want to consult your doctor for screening tests to confirm it is not a lung cancer cough.
- Shortness of breath – Shortness of breath can result from a tumor pressing against an airway in your lungs, making it difficult to breathe properly. Any shortness of breath that doesn’t come from physical strain or exercise should cause concern. Consider a screening or CT scan if symptoms persist.
- Chest pain – Chest pains can come from tumors that grow and press against the chest wall or cause swelling in the lymph node. This can also present as sudden aches in the back or shoulders.
- Coughing up blood – Perhaps the most alarming of these early symptoms, coughing up blood or rusty phlegm of any quantity could be a sign of cancerous cells in the lungs. This is usually a sign that the tumor is growing close to a main pathway in the lungs, known as the bronchi.
While none of these symptoms are specific to lung cancer alone, they could point to a lung cancer diagnosis when taken together. Furthermore, even if you don’t have lung cancer, you should see a healthcare provider if you experience any of these symptoms, as they could point to serious issues that aren’t related to cancer.
Understanding the Risk Factors
One of the best ways to detect lung cancer without screening tests is understanding if you are at a higher risk. You may be wondering, is lung cancer hereditary? There are risk factors and genetic causes of lung cancer to be aware of. While the disease can affect just about anyone, doctors know that smoking is the most prevalent lung cancer risk factor. Smoking is responsible for an estimated 80 percent of deaths from lung cancer, a number that increases with certain types of lung cancer like small cell lung cancer. Smokers have a much greater chance of getting lung cancer than non-smokers. This risk is hard to pinpoint exactly as the length of time you’re smoking and the greater the number of cigarettes you smoke per day can escalate the risk.
Smoke of any kind, whether from a cigarette or a fireplace, contains toxic chemicals as a product of materials combusting. When inhaled, these chemicals can hurt the lining of your lungs. The good news is that your lungs are surprisingly resilient and capable of healing themselves. However, repeated exposure to smoke can cause continuous damage that, over time, your lungs can’t keep up with. That constant damage can result in cells growing abnormally and eventually becoming cancer cells, thus resulting in you developing lung cancer.
Cigarettes contribute to that constant exposure due to the addictive nature of nicotine, on top of the chemicals added to the average cigarette. You don’t even need to be smoking to be at risk for lung cancer. Secondhand cigarette smoke can damage lung tissue and contributes to about 7,000 lung cancer deaths per year.
If you have a history of heavy smoking or being around heavy smokers, you may want to consult your doctor for a lung cancer screening. Staying away from smoking will be a huge step towards lung cancer prevention and hopefully avoiding a biopsy, or lung cancer surgery in the future.
The fact is, there are no simple ways to detect lung cancer on your own. Going through tests and physical examinations during a visit to the doctor is the only way to truly diagnose lung cancer. If you or someone you know has lung cancer, feel free to reach out to the Immunity Therapy Center today so we can talk through your options. With early detection, you’ll be able to figure out the best lung cancer treatment plan for you.
- American Lung Association. Lung Cancer Symptoms. https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/lung-cancer/learn-about-lung-cancer/symptoms/
- Self. 5 Early Signs of Lung Cancer You Need to Know. https://www.self.com/story/subtle-symptom-of-lung-cancer-chronic-cough
- Cancer. Lung Cancer Risk Factors. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/lung-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html
At Immunity Therapy Center, our goal is to provide objective, updated, and research-based information on all health-related topics. This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by Dr. Carlos Bautista, a Board Certified Medical Doctor at Immunity Therapy Center. All information published on the site must undergo an extensive review process to ensure accuracy. This article contains trusted sources with all references hyperlinked for the reader's visibility.