Lung cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women. The lungs are two air-filled sacs in our chest that are responsible for the inhalation and distribution of oxygen to our tissues, and the exhalation of toxic gasses. The majority of lung cancers are called non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), while the other major subtype is called small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Commonly agreed upon risk factors of lung cancer are smoking cigarettes, being exposed to second-hand smoke, exposure to asbestos and radon gas, and exposure to toxic substances via pollution or due to workplace exposure.
What Are The Symptoms of Lung Cancer?
The following are symptoms of lung cancer, and should be discussed with your doctor: a persistent or worsening cough, blood in the sputum, chest pain, shortness of breath or wheezing, chronic infections of the lungs (bronchitis), shoulder pain, or hoarseness of the voice.
What Happens After a Lung Cancer Diagnosis?
Surgery is sometimes recommended with a diagnosis of lung cancer. Either the entire lobe of the lung will be removed, or if it small enough, just the tumour as well as a small margin of healthy tissue may be removed. Radiation and chemotherapy are also commonly used.
Complementary Naturopathic Care of Lung Cancer
Unfortunately, lung cancer typically tends to have a poor prognosis, and therefore aggressive chemotherapy and radiation is usually performed. Naturopathic complementary cancer care work best alongside conventional therapies. The goals of naturopathic care include improving the efficacy of chemotherapy and radiation, reducing their side effects, protecting the immune system, and quitting smoking. Here are a few examples:
- Bromelain – a common side effect of radiation to the lungs is scarring, called fibrosis, which can lead to difficulty in breathing later on. Bromelain can prevent the formation of scar tissue.
- Melatonin – this hormone is an amazing antioxidant and immune stimulant. Many studies have also shown that when taking melatonin alongside radiation and chemotherapy, it increases their cancer-killing ability while protecting normal cells from injury.
- Astragalus – when used along alongside chemotherapy can protect the white blood cells from being depleted, and has been shown to prolong survival time in patients.