Diagnosis of bronchial cancer is much more difficult to bear than diagnosis of chronic bronchitis.
When examining the symptoms, those for bronchial cancer have to take precedence over all other respiratory symptoms: thoracic pains, breathing difficulties, a stubborn cough, repeated infection problems and, of course, coughing up of blood – especially if these symptoms occur in a person who has smoked for more than 15 years, who has lost weight and is suffering from tiredness.
A hair-raising experience
Each cigarette smoked slows down the beating of the cilia, those minute hair-like projections just 0.01 mm in length which clean the lungs. After seven years of smoking, these cilia are either paralysed or permanently destroyed. This is where chronic bronchitis sets in. The smoker starts to cough regularly.
After 15 to 20 years of exposure to tobacco smoke, the lungs – which were once a rosy pink colour – turn grey or black, and cell reproduction degenerates. And then there is cancer…
The incidence of cancer is directly proportional to the number of cigarettes smoked.
The fastest growing cancer threat!
Lung cancer is the only form of cancer to have experienced such a rapid growth rate. This is primarily due to the increase in tobacco consumption, to the fact that women in France – especially young women – are smoking more and more, and also because people are starting to smoke at a younger age: 26% of the population over 12/14 years of age have started smoking, and 58% of those above 15/16, according to the Ligue Nationale Contre le Cancer in France [the national cancer research association]. It may take 10 to 15 years after smoking cessation for the risk of lung cancer to return to the same as that for a non-smoker.
“It is quite rightly very alarming to know that, of every 100 bronchial cancers diagnosed, only eight of the patients will live another five years, despite all the treatment available.”*