Sunday, November 7, 2010

PEARLvember anyone?

Hello Peeps!

Maybe not as hyped and more celebrated compared to ‘Pinktober’, but we still need to make way for Lung Cancer Awareness as it comes second; yes, 2nd place among causes of death by cancer in our beloved Malaysia reported by the National Cancer Registry of Malaysia in 2003.

Why is Lung Cancer not as much being made aware as Breast Cancer dominating the whole of October you ask? Maybe it’s something people see as a self inflicted cancer as the primary cause and main contributor is smoking? Who knows but as medical professionals, every patient is unique; every disease should be important to us. So let’s review a little about Lung Cancer, shall we?

Lung cancer is cancer of some of the cells in part of your lung, usually beginning in the lining of the airway. A cancer that arises in cells lining an organ is called a carcinoma. There are different types of lung cancer. Lung cancers are classified according to the type of cell affected. There are two main types: small cell carcinomas and non-small cell carcinomas

Basically, small cell carcinomas compromises 15% of lung cancer cases and is the more fatal one as it is usually diagnosed a little later in the disease progression; metastases present usually upon diagnosis.

So let’s now talk about statistics, because we really love epidemiology; don’t we guys? In Malaysia; as stated before, lung cancer is placed 2nd most common cancer cases in Malaysia right after colon and rectal cancer. Ethnically speaking, Chinese comes in first, followed closely by Malays and Indians in both sexes. Although predominantly males constitute the majority of lung cancer patients, the incidence is rapidly increasing in females.

The symptoms of lung cancer may include any of the following: 

- a continuing cough, or change in a long-standing cough 

- a chest infection that does not get better 

- increasing breathlessness 

- coughing up blood-stained phlegm (sputum) 
- a hoarse voice 
- a dull ache, or a sharp pain, when you cough or take a deep breath 
- loss of appetite and loss of weight 
- difficulty swallowing 
- excessive tiredness (fatigue) and lethargy

A few words of advice from the Macmillan Cancer Support Society on Smoking Cessation;

1. Watch your weight Nearly two thirds of women would be happy to be told they were losing weight even if they weren't trying, according to a poll of over 1000 women by Macmillan Cancer Support. However, unexplained weight loss can be a symptom of lung cancer. If you notice a loss of appetite and weight it's important to see your GP to rule out lung cancer and stay in good health. 

2. Ditch the sexy voice Your other half may love your sexy voice but if you have a hoarse voice or a cough get it checked out. These symptoms may be caused by illnesses other than cancer but it's best to visit your GP. 

3. Listen to your intuition We worry about the kids, partner, parents etc but rarely ourselves. 'We are all so busy, but if your body is telling you something is wrong then do listen,' says, Helen Potter, Senior Macmillan Nurse. 'Listening to your intuition could save your life.' 

4. Make your estate agent love you. Keep your house smoke free. Keep your home smelling sweet. Breathing in other people's cigarette smoke (passive smoking) also increases the risk of lung disease and cancer. 

5. Vitamin C Supermarket Sweep Did you know that fruit containing Vitamin C may help to reduce your risk of developing lung cancer? When you're next doing your supermarket sweep why not fill up your basket with peppers, broccoli, brussels sprout, sweet potatoes, oranges and kiwi fruit. Invite some friends over in the evening and have some fun coming up with some healthy recipe ideas, full of Vitamin C, which can help to protect and keep your cells healthy.

So, what’s with Pearlvember? Well, since pinktober is based on the ribbon colour for breast cancer awareness, I’ve looked it up and just found out [yes, just…] that the ribbon colour for lung cancer awareness is PEARL.

So let’s celebrate pearlvember peeps! =)
[yes, I made that up, not as catchy as pinktober but it’ll do~]

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