Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths for both men and women alike. It most commonly affects those between the ages of 45 and 70. The unfortunate thing is…lung cancer generally has a poor prognosis because often it is diagnosed in an advanced stage, long after it has also spread. If you or your loved one is suffering from a form of lung cancer, let the professionals at Total Home Health help to increase the quality of your life.
There are factors that place you at an increased risk for developing lung cancer including:
· Cigarette smoking or being exposed to secondhand smoke
· Exposure to radiation
· Long-term exposure to inhaled environmental irritants such as pollution
· Impaired lung function, for example due to normal lung changes with age
If you smoke, now would be a great time to work on quitting…and if you’re around someone who smokes, keep your distance from them when they do smoke in order to avoid their secondhand smoke. In addition, if you spend a great deal of time in an environment with irritants you should wear a mask for your own protection to decrease your risk of triggering lung cancer. Although lung cancer and its clinical signs usually aren’t discovered until its later stages, there are signs and symptoms that you should be aware of that should not be ignored, including:
· Difficulty breathing when lying flat
· Having a chronic cough or shortness of breath
· Chest discomfort
· Becoming tired easily, losing weight and/or losing your appetite
· Abnormal breath sounds such as wheezing or diminished sounds
· Muffled heart sounds
· Increased work of breathing such as using your stomach muscles to breathe
If any of the above symptoms sound familiar to you or your loved one, it may be a good idea to bring them to the attention of your doctor. To diagnose you, your provider may perform a lung biopsy, x-rays, and/or CT scans to visualize what is going on in your lungs and test your tissue for abnormalities that could point to cancer. Your provider will discuss the procedures in greater detail with you according to which one will be recommended for you.
If indeed you are diagnosed with lung cancer, chemotherapy is most often the treatment of choice. Also, chemotherapy may be used in combination with radiation and/or surgery depending upon the extent to which you are affected. There are other medications that may also be prescribed to you with the goals of decreasing any inflammation and to help dry up your secretions to promote breathing.
Total Home Health has a program for you. Our nursing staff will assume care for you in the comforts of your own home and will be attentive to even the slightest changes in your condition. We will work closely with all the members of your healthcare team so that every aspect of your care is consistent and the best it can possibly be to maintain your level of functioning and promote your independence. A few things our nursing staff will do may include:
· If you’re a smoker, we will determine how much you smoke and work on ways to help you and encourage you to gradually kick the habit.
· Inquire about how much you are exposed to secondhand smoke and any other irritants.
· Monitor your nutritional status, take note of any weight loss and/or changes in appetite.
· Promote adequate nutrition to provide you with the increased amount of calories you may need if your work of breathing is increased due to shortness of breath.
· Prevent infections by promotion of hand-washing, avoiding crowds, etc.
· Encourage fluids to promote adequate hydration and help to loosen any mucus.
· Maintain an open airway and a position that allows you to breathe at your best.
· Encourage you to take rest periods as needed and schedule your daily routine activities when your energy level is at its highest.
Ultimately, diagnosis of lung cancer can be very devastating news for all involved just because of the simple fact that the prognosis generally is not the best. Join the Total Home Health team today and we’ll help you promote your health, manage your symptoms, and prevent any complications. You’re not in this alone, because with us there will always be someone who cares and puts your care at the top of their list. What are you waiting for? Enroll today!