According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the second most commonly occurring cancer in both men and women when skin cancer isn’t included. There are approximately 228,150 new diagnoses of lung cancer per year and over 142,000 deaths from the disease. Because the disease is common, it’s important for family caregivers of older adults to know more about it, including the signs. Since November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, it’s a good time to begin gathering knowledge about the disease.
Symptoms of Lung Cancer
Unfortunately, most people don’t have any noticeable symptoms of lung cancer until the disease has progressed to its later stages. The reason for this is that there aren’t many nerve endings in the lungs. Therefore, it’s possible for tumors to develop without a person feeling any pain or discomfort. When symptoms do appear, they aren’t the same in all people. Some of the common symptoms that your aging relative could experience are:
- A lasting cough that gets worse as time goes on.
- A cough that produces blood.
- Recurrent respiratory infections.
- Shortness of breath that worsens.
- Pain in the chest that doesn’t go away.
- Hoarse voice.
- Unintentional weight loss.
- Swelling in the face and neck.
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Bone pain.
If your older family member is experiencing any of these symptoms or any other symptoms that are troubling, they should see a doctor.
Risk Factors for Lung Disease
The biggest risk factor for lung disease is smoking. The smoke produced by cigarettes is full of cancer-causing chemicals. When a person breathes them in, they immediately begin damaging the cells that line the lungs. The damage is repairable at first, but eventually the body can’t keep up. Even being exposed to secondhand smoke increases the risk of getting lung cancer.
Other risk factors for lung cancer include:
- Radon Gas: Radon is formed during the natural process of uranium that is in the soil and rock breaking down. The gas seeps into the air and can get inside homes, causing an unsafe amount of the gas to build up.
- Asbestos: Asbestos is a known carcinogen that was used in construction in the past. If your aging relative was exposed to asbestos in the workplace, they are at a greater risk for getting lung cancer.
- Family History: If other people in the senior’s family have had lung cancer, their risk for the disease is increased.
If your older family member is diagnosed with lung cancer, an elder care provider can assist them. A home care provider can offer transportation to doctor appointments and treatment. Elder care providers can also remind the senior to take their medications. In addition, an elder care provider can offer emotional support and distractions when they are worrying about the future.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Elder Care in Crawfordville, FL, please call the caring staff at Hopewell In-Home Senior Care today at 850-386-5552. Providing Senior Care Services in North Florida.
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