What is Respiratory Tract Cancer – Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

Respiratory tract cancer is mostly caused by working in hazardous occupations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 20,000 deaths and double the number of diagnosed cases are reported of this cancer annually in the United States.

Asbestos, cadmium, arsenic, beryllium, silica, chromium, diesel exhaust and nickel are some of the cancer causing chemicals whose chronic exposure can lead to the development of lung, tracheal and bronchitis cancers.

Symptoms of Respiratory Tract Cancer:

  • Bloody sputum
  • Coughing up blood
  • Chronic cough
  • Worsening cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Wheezing
  • Chronic chest pain
  • Recurring bronchitis
  • Recurring pneumonia
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Tiredness
  • Pain rib cage
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen face
  • Swollen neck

Risk Factors of Occupational Cancer:

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Certain medical problems
  • Family history of cancer
  • Age, gender and race
  • Carcinogens exposure from the environment
  • Carcinogens exposure in the workplace

These factors either work together or in a sequence to cause the dreadful cancer in the respiratory tract.

Diagnosis of Occupational Therapy:

Chest radiograph is the first test carried out to when the above mentioned signs are reported by a patient. If no abnormality is found in this test, then CT scan or bronchoscopy can provide the evidences of cancer, Biopsy can be carried out to know the particular cell responsible for the disease. This information plays a crucial role in designing the treatment.

Treatment of Respiratory Tract Cancer:

  • Placing stints in the airways
  • Pneumonectomy or removal of lung
  • Lobectomy – Removal of the lobs in the lung
  • Lung segmental resection
  • Chemotherapy
  • Cryosurgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Analgesics
  • Prophylactic cranial irradiation – Using energy waves to the brain so as to prevent spreading of this cancer to the brain
  • Molecular targeted therapy
  • Palliative management: When the disease does not respond to the treatment offered or in cases where the patient stops undergoing treatment

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