Archive for the ‘Lung Cancer’ Category

Stop Smoking by 30 to Erase Increased Risk of Death

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

I may not be 30, but I’m 30-something and after 20 years of smoking I finally quit more than six months ago. The road was long and hard, but according to a recent medical study of more than one million women, it was the perfect time to quit. Smoking increases a woman’s risk of death dramatically – cutting up to 10 years off her life in the end – but quitting early could help you add those 10 years back in no time.

The Lungs and Heart of the Matter

The Lancet published the most recent study into the long-term effects of quitting smoking by age 30. According to the study of more than one million women, smoking can reduce lifespan by 10 years if continued into the 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond. Many female smokers die of lung disease, stroke or heart disease related to smoking, but that doesn’t have to be your fate or mine. Researchers found that women who quit smoking by 30 were able to reduce increased risk of death by 97%. Even waiting as many as 10 more years and quitting before 40 reduced increased risk of death by 90% – so now is the time to quit, but how?

The CDC and Smoking Cessation Resources

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been a strong partner in smoking cessation campaigns for years. There is a long list of links to websites where smokers can learn more about smoking cessation programs like Smokefree Woman, but traditional smoking cessation programs are not for everyone; they weren’t for me either, so where can women turn who just don’t know how to quit?

E-Cigarettes: A Viable Option?

I chose to quit using electronic cigarettes. My first purchase was a cheap disposable product from a convenience store. That was the last day I smoked a cigarette. The e-cigarette allowed me to get the nicotine my body craved and go through the motions of smoking. The habit of smoking was more difficult for me to break than the addiction to nicotine. Over time, I reduced the amount of nicotine I consumed and the number of times I “smoked” my e-cigarette each day. I’m still working on quitting 100%, but I’m close than I’ve ever been and I left traditional cigarettes behind in my 30s, so I’m already gaining back years of my life.

Proactive Cancer Protection Tips to Help Stay Cancer Free

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

To stack the odds against getting cancer in your favor, there are several things that can be done. Quit smoking, wear sunscreen and stay active are three well known, proactive measures to avoiding certain types of cancers. Here are some lesser known proactive cancer protection measures that are effective in the battle to stay cancer free.

Protect Against Colon Cancer With Eggs

If you don’t like fatty seafood like salmon or sardines, and the after taste of fish oil capsules disgusts you, get the omega-3 cancer protection your body needs from eggs.

Research has shown that omega-3’s inhibit the inflammatory compounds that contribute to growth of cancerous polyps in the colon. Eggs are rich in omega-3’s and two eggs will provide as much colon cancer protection as a salmon fillet.

Red Sauce Protects Against Lung Cancer

The colorful pigment that makes tomatoes red, lycopene, significantly reduces the risk of lung cancer. The most proactive cancer protection comes from cooked tomatoes, like those found in red sauces; spaghetti sauce, salsa and canned tomato products. The body absorbs the lycopene easier when the tomato product is cooked.

Garlic Reduces Risk Of Bladder Cancer

Studies have shown that the more garlic you eat, the more resistant your bladder is against cancer. Many processed foods, like lunch meats, hot dogs and bacon, contain nitrates, those nitrates are converted by our body into cancer causing nitrites, which can lodge in the bladder. Garlic helps prevent the nitrates in processed food from converting into nitrites. Eating one clove of garlic per day, raw or cooked, is a proactive step towards preventing bladder cancer. Keeping the bladder flushed out with six glass of water or other water based beverage (tea, coffee, diluted fruit juices) is also a proactive cancer protection step.

Wear Colorful Clothing

Colorful clothing provides more proactive protection against skin cancer than white clothing. Brightly colored clothing reflects away more of the sun’s cancer causing UV rays than pale pastels or white clothing. Dry clothing offers twice the proactive protection from UV rays than wet clothing, so bring an extra T-shirt to change into at the beach or lake.

Aspirin Protects Against Ovarian Cancer

Aspirin lowers the levels of estrogen in the bloodstream. Estrogen fuels cancer cells in the ovaries, taking an aspirin a day or reaching for aspirin instead of acetaminophen or NSAID pain relievers lowers the estrogen level and protects against ovarian cancer.

Two Supplements Protect Against Breast Cancer

The combination of a multi-vitamin and a calcium supplement is powerful in the proactive fight against breast cancer. The two supplements, taken together, help speed up the repair of damaged DNA in the breast before breast cells can turn cancerous.

How to Naturally Repair Lung Damage Caused by Smoking

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

You finally quit smoking. Congratulations! For some people, this is one of their most challenging achievements of their life. Once smoking is stopped, the lungs will slowly begin the process of repair, but it can take years to undo the harmful effects of cigarette smoking. Keep in mind that it took time to get cigarette lung damage in the first place and the changes can’t be reversed overnight.

The reality is that even after you quit smoking, your risk of lung cancer will never be as low as someone who never smoked; although ten years down the road, your risk of lung cancer will be substantially reduced. Because your lung cancer risk will always be higher than that of a non-smoker, it’s important to do everything you can from a dietary standpoint to reduce the lung damage caused by smoking. Fortunately, human and animal studies show that diet can make a difference when it comes to repairing cigarette lung damage. What are some dietary changes you can make to improve the health of your lungs?

To Repair Cigarette Lung Damage Eat More Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce and other processed tomato products are a good source of lycopenes. Lycopenes are nutrients in the carotenoid family that hold some promise for lung cancer prevention. One study showed that mice given tomato lycopenes had a lower risk of developing lung tumors. Lycopenes are abundant in tomatoes that have been cooked with much lower levels found in raw tomatoes. Tomato juice, tomato sauce, and ketchup are good sources. Try to fit more of these lycopene-rich foods into your diet.

To Repair Cigarette Lung Damage Drink Green Tea

Green tea is a good source of polyphenols – natural chemicals that have antioxidant properties. A recent study showed that mice exposed to cigarette smoke and subsequently given green tea extract developed less lung damage than those exposed to cigarettes without the benefit of green tea. Although studies haven’t been conducted on green tea and lung damage in humans, it would make sense that it could have benefits in humans as well. To get these benefits, you would probably need to drink five cups or more a day or take a green tea extract.

To Repair Cigarette Lung Damage Eat More Vegetables

A Chinese study showed that smokers and non-smokers who ate the highest quantities of vegetables lowered their risk of lung cancer by sixty percent compared to those who ate the least. Fruits also reduced the risk, but not as dramatically as vegetables did. To repair lung damage caused by smoking, find more ways to add vegetables to your diet – particularly cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage.

Eating more of these healthy foods and limiting processed, packaged foods may be a simple way to reduce the harmful effects of cigarette lung damage. You’ve taken the most important step by kicking the habit. The diet part should be a cinch!

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11237207
http://www.foodnavigator.com/Financial-Industry/Green-tea-extracts-may-slow-smokers-lung-damage
Annals of Oncology. 2007; 18: 388-392.

Atelectasis of the Lung: Who’s at Risk?

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

What Is Atelectasis?

Atelectasis of the lung is a medical condition in which a part or all of a lung contracts and is airless; it can be acute or chronic. Acute atelectasis involves the recent collapse of a lung; the only immediate symptom is often airlessness. If you have a stethoscope you can actually listen to see if you hear breath sounds. Diminished or a total lack of breath sounds is cause for great concern. Keep in mind that you might not hear breath sounds if you haven’t been trained in listening to them and are unfamiliar with the different spots on the chest, back and sides on which to place the stethoscope. In any case, unless you are a medical doctor, you should never determine whether you or someone else has atelectasis based on listening to lung sounds at home.

Chronic atelectasis of the lung involves not only airlessness, but can also involve widening, scarring, and infection of the bronchi, known as bronchiectasis. “Bronchi” is the plural form of the word “bronchus.” There are two bronchi or main branches of the trachea (windpipe) that lead directly down into the lungs; they branch off forming what looks like an upside down letter “Y.”

What Causes Atelectasis of the Lung?

This lung disorder is usually brought on by an obstruction of some type of one of the bronchi. A tumor, an inhaled object or mucus can cause the blockage. Things and conditions outside of the lungs can also cause a blockage–enlarged lymph nodes and pneumothorax (air in the pleural space surrounding the lungs) are examples; these, however, are not the only causes. Acute atelectasis can develop after surgery, particularly after abdominal or chest surgery and can occur as a result of an injury sustained in an auto accident, a stabbing or shooting.

Prevention, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Risk Factors

High doses of certain drugs such as sedatives and opioids, tight and restricting bandages, distention (abdominal swelling), and immobility following surgery can contribute to the development of acute atelectasis. Neurologic health problems and deformities of the chest can also lead to shallow breathing, which in turn leads to the development of other problems that bring on atelectasis of the lung.

The severity of symptoms depends on many factors such as the degree and length of time of the blockage, what brought on the obstruction in the first place, the presence of any infection, and the amount of lung affected. Shortness of breath is almost always present; there might also be an increase in the heart rate and the person might begin to turn bluish (become cyanotic). If these signs and symptoms are present, medical help should be summoned without delay.

Doctors will usually order a chest x-ray which might or might not appear normal. However, if he or she suspects atelectasis of the lung, a computed tomography (CT) and/or a bronchoscopy test might be ordered. Treatment is based on the cause of the obstruction. For example, a tumor might be treated with surgery, laser, chemo, or radiation therapies, and suctioning might be performed to remove a foreign object causing the blockage. Antibiotics to help fight infection are almost always prescribed.

Prevention of atelectasis of the lung is closely connected to risk factors. When risk factors that can be removed are removed, prevention “moves” in automatically. Accidents will happen; sometimes they are serious and cause extensive damage to the chest increasing the risk of the development of atelectasis. However, the unintelligent and health-destroying habit of smoking endangers not only the health of the smoker, but also the health of everyone around him or her who cannot enjoy the right to breath clean air being exposed to second and even third-hand smoke; yes, there is third-hand smoke. Smoking and exposure to smoke significantly increase the risk of developing the miserable condition of atelectasis.

Sources:

The Merck Manual of Medical Information (second home edition) by Merck Research Laboraties
My EMT training/experience (state licensed and NREMT certification)

Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease: My Story

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

I was doing just fine in life, just as I had before. Working as a secretary in New York City and earning a good salary made life more bearable and social amenities accessible. Sometimes walking up and down six stair cases with no chest or breathing problems. On the subway going to work one day, I saw large, white spots and my ears were ringing. I felt light-headed but I slowly made it to the office.

Diagnosis
I lay down on the carpet in my boss’s office, hoping it would go away. Since It did not, they were forced to drive me to hospital. In the ER I was given some kind of smoking pipe to breathe through. That meant I had a breathing problem. I could easily relate this to my smoking. After regaining consciousnesses, the news was broken down to me: I had COPD. A few weeks later, it happened again, and I had the same response. All this time, I had no idea what COPD was, even though they said it meant Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. I actually puffed a cigarette on my way home from hospital. I still had no clue! What a dummy.

Treatment
At one time, I was admitted me to the hospital, where I spent a week on oxygen. I had to be given nicotine patches because of my addiction to cigarettes which was taking toil on me. That is when it was explained to me. It took 4 months’ of nicotine patches to quit smoking altogether. And a year later I was put on oxygen 24/7. I was very weak because I still couldn’t breathe. I had to be sent to pulmonary rehab to get some of my strength back. I heard about lung volume reduction surgery and switched hospitals to try and access the surgery which am happy am happy to say was successful.

I still attend pulmonary rehab twice a week on a maintenance program. This seems to be my biggest struggle. I was given another chance at life and thank God all the time for that. I also can not fail to hail all the relentless efforts of the medical practitioners who employed their skills to see me through this journey.

Conclusion

Today the smell of tobacco nauseates me. I really hope and pray that my experience, full of pain, tears and despair can be used to empathize with COPD patients to make them realize it is not a death sentence and also alluded to when cautioning masses of the effects of over indulgence in cigarette smoking.