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Let’s talk about lung cancer

Sharing information for Lung Cancer Awareness Month

It's Lung Cancer Awareness Month throughout November and we wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the stats and symptoms in case they’re helpful to anyone reading. We are not doctors, and all of this information is in the public domain, but if we hope that in sharing it, it could help someone to get a diagnosis a little earlier.

Lung cancer statistics

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers after skin cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer. According to Cancer Research UK, some of the key statistics to be aware of are:

  • There are around 48,500 new lung cancer cases in the UK every year, 130+ every day
  • It accounts for 13% of all new cancer cases
  • Since the early 1990s, lung cancer incidence rates have decreased by around a tenth
  • As of 2015, around 79% of lung cancer cases were considered preventable in the UK

Lung cancer symptoms

According to the NHS, the most common symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • A cough that does not go away after three weeks
  • A long-standing cough that gets worse
  • Chest infections that keep coming back
  • Coughing up blood
  • An ache or pain when breathing or coughing
  • Persistent breathlessness
  • Persistent tiredness or lack of energy
  • Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss

They also cite less common symptoms including changes in the appearance of your fingers (becoming curved or enlarged at the ends, difficulty swallowing, swelling on your face or neck, and persistent chest or shoulder pain). As always, if you feel as though something isn't right with your body, it's always best to speak to your GP.

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Lung cancer prevention

As mentioned, lung cancer is considered to be preventable in a number of cases. Of course, that's not true of all incidences, but the CDC suggests that the most common risk factors for lung cancer are: smoking (notably cigarettes, pipes or cigars), second hand smoke, prolonged exposure to radon, a family history of lung cancer, and previous cancer treatment including radiation therapy to the chest area.

The main suggestions for helping to prevent lung cancer, from the American Cancer Society, include:

  • Don't start smoking
  • If you already smoke, stop as soon as possible
  • Reduce your radon exposure by having your home tested
  • Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle

Typical treatments for lung cancer

The treatment you may receive for different types of lung cancer depends on the stage and type of cancer that you have, where it's located and your overall health. However, a treatment plan usually involves either one or a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The NHS says that small-cell lung cancer is usually treated with either chemotherapy alone, or in combination with radiotherapy or immunotherapy. There are three types of surgery for lung cancer:

  • A lobectomy
  • A pneumonectomy
  • A wedge resection or segmentectomy

You can find out more here.

Spa treatments and your cancer journey

All cancer treatments have their side effects that doctors will be able to offer advice on.

From our perspective, spas are certainly not going to fix all problems, but with properly trained spa therapists and the right products, they can help to ease some side effects of cancer treatments and to provide support on your cancer journey.

For example, the right type of massage has been shown to help ease pain, improve mood and help with sleeplessness. Meanwhile, products from brands like Jennifer Young help to ease some of the skincare side effects of cancer treatment.

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If you would like to find out more about spas where therapists are trained to provide the best support on your cancer journey, you can follow the link to our Safe Hands for Cancer experiences, or read more articles on this blog.

Read more about cancer support in UK spas

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