‘Haemoptysis’ is common cancer sign that can determine death – BMJ
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There are many factors that determine a cancer prognosis. The stage of the disease being most significant. However, the nature of symptoms can also provide a glimpse into your prognosis.
According to the BMJ, haemoptysis provides some insight into your odds of survival.
Haemoptysis is a common presenting symptom of lung cancer. The medical term describes the coughing of blood from a source below the glottis (the area between the vocal cords).
It can range from a small amount of blood-streaked sputum to massive bleeding with life-threatening consequences.
According to the BMJ, the rate of bleeding is the “most important factor” determining mortality.
The health body notes that “massive” expulsion of blood from coughing occurs in around five to 15 percent of patients presenting with haemoptysis.
In a study of patients in primary care, the incidence of haemoptysis was found to be one case in 1000 patients per year.
There are other coughing-related warning signs that can spell lung cancer.
According to Cancer Research UK, having a cough most of the time or having a change in a cough you have had for a long time can also spell lung cancer.
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It’s worth noting that the coughing changes are not always a sign of something serious.
For example, a cough is also a symptom of coronavirus or the common cold.
“It is still important to contact your GP if you have a new or worsening cough,” advises Cancer Research UK.
“They can speak to you over the phone or by a video call and arrange for tests if you need them.”
Other common signs of lung cancer include:
- Getting out of breath doing the things you used to do without a problem
- Coughing up phlegm (sputum) with blood in it
- Having an ache or pain in the chest or shoulder
- Chest infections that keep coming back or a chest infection that Doesn’t get better
- Losing your appetite
- Feeling tired all the time (fatigue)
- Losing weight.
Are you at risk?
Poor lifestyle decisions can contribute to your risk of lung cancer.
“Most cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking, although people who have never smoked can also develop the condition,” notes the NHS.
In fact, smoking cigarettes is the single biggest risk factor for lung cancer. It’s responsible for more than 70 percent of cases.
Tobacco smoke contains more than 60 different toxic substances, which are known to be carcinogenic (cancer-producing).
One risk factor that is becoming more acute is exposure to pollution.
Research suggests that being exposed to diesel fumes over many years increases your risk of developing lung cancer.
One study has shown your risk of developing lung cancer increases by around 33 percent if you live in an area with high levels of nitrogen oxide gases (mostly produced by cars and other vehicles).
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