What Does Lung Cancer Look Like?

What does lung cancer look like? Do you suppose that it looks like someone who is about 70 years old, very emaciated, with a cigarette in her hand? Someone who looks like they are about to die?

Or do you envision a 20 year old girl with her whole life ahead of her? Except that she’s currently bald from her chemo treatments and searching desperately for the drugs that will keep her alive? Or, maybe you see a beautiful, cheerful 24 year old young woman who has already lost part of her lung? Girls who were physically active; girls who never smoked; girls who weren’t around smoke?

In the picture below, three of the people are not lung cancer survivors. Can you guess which three? I bet not. Because lung cancer doesn’t have “a look.”

Photo credit: Randy Elles Photography LUNGevity Foundation — in Washington, District of Columbia.

Who gets cancer? Is it the 20-something college student? Is it the 30-something veterinarian? The 40-something TV reporter? The 50-something long-distance bicycle rider? Is it your 60-something vegetarian neighbor? Is it your postal worker? Your doctor’s office receptionist? The professional baseball player? The IT superstar down the hall? Your doctor? If you answer “yes” to all of these, then you are absolutely correct.

The fact is, no one is immune. Whether or not they smoked. Whether or not they exercised. Whether or not they ate only vegetarian foods. If they have lungs, they are susceptible to getting lung cancer.

The scary thing about lung cancer is that there are not often many symptoms until it has advanced so far that there are not a lot of treatment options. If you suddenly develop a smoker’s cough, but you didn’t smoke, or if you have extreme shortness of breath, wheezing, or asthma-like symptoms, or if you begin to drop weight for no reason, you might have lung cancer. A CT scan can be done in a matter of minutes to detect if there are tumors in your lungs. The earlier lung cancer is detected, the more likely that you will survive.

 

Photo credit: Randy Elles Photography LUNGevity Foundation — in Washington, District of Columbia.

Here’s a link that I hope will stay active for a long time. It has pictures that were contributed to WhatNext.com by cancer survivors. Now, these people do not all have lung cancer, but they are all surviving some kind of cancer. I hope you’ll follow the link. I think you will be encouraged.

What does cancer look like?

I don’t know about you, but what I notice most is how many of these individuals have large, happy smiles. Smiles that reach their eyes. These are cancer survivors (some who are “NED — No evidence of disease” and some who are newly diagnosed and in the throes of chemo). They have cancer. Cancer doesn’t have them.

 

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