Health

Which toxic fumes in everyday life could cause lung cancer symptoms?

The air you breathe in could be contributing to lung cancer. Find out what puts you at higher risk of developing the disease, and the symptoms to look out for.

The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation – set up by Professor Ray Donnelly – raises awareness of the deadly disease.

There are no pain sensors inside the lungs, so a person only becomes aware that something is wrong when the disease interrupts the way you breathe.

The British Lung Foundation explained that “you’re probably not conscious of your breathing”.

When you breathe in, air travels through your nose or mouth and into your windpipe.

From there, it can supply the left and right lungs, including the tiny air sacs.

However, the air isn’t the only thing you may be breathing in – toxic fumes could be making its way down to your lungs.

The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation detailed risk factors for the “most common cancer in the world”.

Smoking, understandably, is the leading cause of lung cancer, but that’s not the only toxin that could be causing you harm.

It’s reported that 28 percent of lung cancers aren’t caused by smoking – whether you still puff away or stomped it out years ago.

Passive smoking is also a risk factor – i.e. second-hand smoke. This type of smoking may be unavoidable when walking in busy city centres.

Another risky substance you could be breathing in is diesel fumes – fuel for cars still on the road today.

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There is conflicting evidence on whether diesel can cause lung cancer, with the American Cancer Society agreeing with the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.

“Several studies have found that long-term, heavy exposure to diesel exhaust can cause lung cancer in lab animals,” said the American Cancer Society.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), on the other hand, stated “diesel is not considered to be particularly toxic”.

It added: “There is not thought to be any risk of cancer from short-term, occasional exposure. “

Other substances labelled toxic by the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation include asbestos and radon gas.

Inhalation of asbestos fibres is directly linked to lung cancer, as they become lodged in the lung tissues.

The WHO added that asbestos lung cancer symptoms may take more than a decade to emerge following exposure.

The Health and Safety Executive warned: “Asbestos can be found in any industrial or residential building built or refurbished before the year 2000.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) noted that radon gas “is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer”.

It added: “Radon gas becomes trapped indoors after it enters buildings through cracks and other holes in the foundation.”

Symptoms of lung cancer pointed out by the NHS, include a cough that doesn’t go away after three weeks, recurring chest infections, and coughing up blood.

Other signs of the disease include persistent breathlessness, and an ache or pain when breathing or coughing.

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