Lung cancer occupies the position of 3rd most common cancer in SA men with a lifetime risk of 1 in 82 (NCR 2017) and 5th most common cancer in SA women have a lifetime risk of 1 in 191 (NCR 2017).
Screening may include examining the lungs with a fiberoptic telescope, sampling sputum for cancer cells or doing a CT scan. Treatment depends on the location of the cancer and how far advanced it is. Treatment may include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or a combination.
Lung cancer doesn’t typically cause symptoms in its earliest stages, but symptoms present when the disease is already advanced.
- a chronic cough
- a cough that gets worse and does not go away
- a change in sputum
- coughing up blood (even a small amount)
- shortness of breath or wheezing
- constant chest pain (especially when coughing)
- frequent chest infections
- a chest infection that lingers
- feeling tired all the time
Lettie Truter: “Wanneer ‘n aanhoudende kuggie (gedink dat dit die gevolg was van ‘n sinus-drup) later “ontaard” in erge hoesbuie – ook net af en toe – maar daar verskyn ‘n effense bloederigheid in dit wat jy uithoes – gaan onmiddellik dokter toe!” (cancer Survivor) (When a nagging cough – thought it was as a result of a post-nasal drip) later evolves into severe coughing fits – only now and again – but then you cough up a little blood – go to the doctor immediately!)
Smoking accounts for the majority of preventable lung cancers. Statistics reveal that the more a person smokes, the greater the risk of developing lung cancer. It’s also more likely to develop in people who start smoking at a young age. Being exposed to passive smoking and chemicals can also increase risk.
CANSA can assess your risk with a Smokerlyzer device – carbon monoxide is an invisible, odourless, toxic gas formed during tobacco smoking. The Smokerlyzer device is used to measure the exhaled air of the carbon monoxide levels and guides as an awareness tool to educate and encourage quitting the use of tobacco products, and also to be aware of being exposed to pollution and secondary smoke.
If someone stops smoking, the risk of developing lung cancer falls dramatically and after approximately 15 years, the chance of developing the disease is similar to that of a non-smoker. In the event of a smoker quitting, health benefits may be experienced immediately…
If you suspect that you have lung cancer, you need to contact your medical practitioner in order that the proper screening tests be performed.
Diagnosis & Support
If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer, please contact your local CANSA Care Centre so that our staff can offer you and your loved ones care & support, including medical equipment hire, wigs, counselling, support groups, online support groups and resources, as well as CANSA Care Homes where patients receiving treatment far from home can stay during treatment.
Staff can also help guide you through the public health care system.
- Fact Sheet: Lung Cancer
2021 – CANSA is partnering with the University of KwaZulu- Natal-Multinational Lung Cancer Control Programme (UKZN-MLCCP) under the leadership of Dr Themba Ginindza and other Co-Principal Investigators for a three-year period. Read more…