Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer deaths in the United States and worldwide, according to the American Cancer Society. In the 2014 McHenry County Healthy Community Study, it was reported that in McHenry County, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths.
Lung Cancer Symptoms
It can take years to develop signs or symptoms of lung cancer, and those signals may not show until the disease has progressed. You should remember to report any rare physical feelings to your doctor. Often, as the cancers advance, they on occasion produce some symptoms, in either the chest or elsewhere in the body.
Symptoms in the chest could be:
- Coughing up phlegm or mucus, especially if it is tinged or tinted with blood
- Persistent lung problems, like pneumonia or bronchitis
- Changes in the voice or being hoarse
- Coughing up blood
- Shortness of breath
- A change in color or volume of sputum
- Abnormal, high-pitched sound with every breath. Often caused by blockage in the throat
- Pain in the chest, shoulder or back but not related to pain from coughing.
When lung cancer has spread, some may feel symptoms in other places in the body. Common places include adrenal glands, bones, brain, liver and lymph nodes.
Symptoms appearing elsewhere could include:
- Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss
- Blood clots
- Neck or facial swelling
- Headaches, bone or joint pain
- Bone fractures unrelated to accidental injury
- Neurological symptoms, like an unsteady gait or memory loss
Lung Cancer Risk Factors
- Smoking—By far, smoking is the leading risk factor. Join Centegra’s seven-week Freedom from Smoking class for adults. Centegra Health System and the McHenry Department of Health have partnered together to bring you an effective program that will help you quit smoking. To learn more or to register, visit our Freedom from Smoking page, call 877-CENTEGRA or visit our Calendar.
- Secondhand smoke—Breathing in the smoke of other people can increase your risk of developing lung cancer by nearly 30 percent.
- Radon—Radon is a radioactive gas resulting from a naturally occurring breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks. The US Environmental Protection Agency has reported that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and is the leading cause among non-smokers.
- Air pollution
- Radiation therapy to the lungs
- Arsenic in drinking water—For most Americans who are on public water systems, the drinking water is not a major source of arsenic.
- Personal or family history of lung cancer
Lung Cancer Detection
Centegra offers a free low-dose CT lung screening. This simple, non-invasive screening can effectively check the health of your lungs by providing detailed pictures and revealing any abnormalities, even those as small as a pea.
This life-saving screening is recommended for men and women ages 55 to 80 years who have a 30-pack year history. This is the equivalent of smoking one pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years. View our Frequently Asked Questions about the free low-dose CT lung screening.
The CT lung screening is offered at the Centegra Imaging Centers in Crystal Lake and Huntley. A physician order is required for this screening.
To schedule your free CT lung screening, call 815-334-5566.