Lung cancer can be deadly. What’s the warning sign you may have the disease? When do you catch yourself feeling breathless?
The disease can begin in the windpipe (trachea), the main airway (bronchus) or the lung tissue.
Lung cancer forms when cells in either of those areas begin to reproduce at an uncontrollable rate, forming a cancerous tumour.
How do the lungs work?
In the left lung, there’s two sections: the upper and lower lobes.
In the right lung, there’s three sections: the upper, middle and lower lobes.
Air breathed in travels through the nose (or mouth) down the windpipe, and enters the left to right bronchus.
A bronchus is split into smaller tubes called secondary bronchi, then split again into even smaller tubes called bronchioles.
The bronchioles have small air sacs at the end called alveoli – this is where oxygen passes into the bloodstream.
This leads to a common symptom of lung cancer, which is breathlessness.
The British Lung Foundation (BLF) clarify that people with lung cancer may feel out of breath while resting or even when doing day-to-day tasks.
Other symptoms of lung cancer, pointed out by the charity, include a cough, lots of chest infections, chest pain, feeling tired and loss of appetite.
Additional symptoms include unexplained weight loss, a hoarse voice and blood in mucus or phlegm.