Early Symptoms Of Non-small Cell Lung Cancer In Women

Lung Cancer affects more women than breast cancer, ovarian cancer and uterine cancer combined. Though women and men are both at risk for contracting lung cancer, studies show that they are susceptible to different types of cancer, especially if they smoke or are exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke for extended periods. Two kinds of cancers start in the lungs. These are small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer consists of adenocarcinoma, squamous cell lung cancer and large cell carcinoma.

Women are more likely to contract adenocarcinoma while men are more susceptible to squamous lung cancer. The former is found in the outer part of your lungs, makes up about 40 percent of all lung cancers and grows slowly and can be difficult to detect and easy to misdiagnose. The latter (squamous cell) affects the cells that line the inner air passages of the lungs.

There is no scientific consensus on why non-small cell lung cancer presents differently in men and women but doctors almost unanimously agree that smoking is the number one cause of developing cancerous cells in the lungs. Since an adenocarcinoma that starts in the lungs progresses very slowly, women must catch it in its early stage.

Early diagnosis leads to a more effective and straightforward treatment plan and gives you a better chance of survival. The symptoms of non-small cell lung cancer are quite hard to spot and can be initially misdiagnosed as pneumonia or a collapsed lung. When you notice any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor and ask for a test.

Symptoms of lung cancer include a persistent cough, chest pain or a tightening that occurs when you cough, laugh or draw a breath and a change in your voice, noisy breathing, wheezing or shortness of breath. Many patients who have early-onset Non-small cell lung cancer may also experience a loss of appetite and may lose weight. Fatigue is also quite common.

A doctor might also suspect Non-small cell lung cancer if a patient doesn’t seem to be responding to treatment for conditions like bronchitis or pneumonia.

Once you are diagnosed, your treatment plan will largely depend on how much the cancer has progressed. For early diagnosis, many doctors may recommend surgery to remove the cancer cells. Other treatment options may include radiation (where the cancer cells are exposed to radioactive light), chemotherapy to shrink the cells via a drug or targeted therapy that works like chemo and radiation but with less risk to normal healthy cells near the affected area.

A combination of all these treatments can also be recommended so that you can not only try to beat your cancer but also treat your symptoms and stay as comfortable and positive through your treatment.