While catering to our respiratory system, we often tend to ignore the trachea or windpipe. It is an extremely vital organ that requires proper care and nourishment. People often realize the importance of this organ when they encounter issues with it, one of them being tracheal cancer.
Tracheal cancer is a serious health complication that has life-threatening consequences. While it is a rare disease, it needs to be taken seriously to relieve yourself from the issue as soon as possible. Make sure you seek medical help as soon as you notice early signs of tracheal cancer.
Before looking at the signs that require medical attention and diagnosis, let us briefly understand tracheal cancer.
Tracheal cancer is cancer forming in your windpipe. Rare cancer starts in your trachea and may spread to other vital organs of your body. Many tracheal cancer cases also occur because of cancer originating somewhere else and spreading to the tracheal region.
There are three major types of tracheal cancer (malignant tumors) – squamous cell carcinoma, adenoid cystic carcinoma, and carcinoid tumors.
Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common tracheal cancer type that arises in the lower portion of the patient’s tracheal. The fast-growing tumor penetrates the trachea’s mucosal lining while growing, resulting in ulceration and bleeding. This type of tracheal cancer is more common in men than in women.
Adenoid cystic carcinoma, on the other hand, is less likely to penetrate the patient’s mucosal lining in the trachea. Instead, these slow-growing tumors close off the airway while progressing. These tumors are common in men and women between the ages of 40 and 60.
Finally, carcinoid tumors arise from your neuroendocrine cells that produce hormones like serotonin. While most of these tumors are found in the gastrointestinal system, they may also occur in the tracheal region.
Tracheal cancer is not a disease you’d want to ignore. It affects your body’s normal functioning and can be fatal if not treated on time. Make sure you reach out to a skilled oncologist as soon as you feel relevant symptoms. Being rare cancer, tracheal tumors are treated by a few specialized oncologists. At the end of the day, being aware of the symptoms and noticing them on time is the key to tackling the issue effectively.
Here are a few early signs of tracheal cancer that should prompt you to seek medical help:
Tracheal cancers do not cause sudden breathlessness like in the case of cardiac disease. Here, the breathlessness develops slowly and stays with the patient for a longer time as the tumor develops in the tracheal region. If you experience difficulty breathing for several days or weeks at a stretch, make sure you get yourself diagnosed with tracheal cancer.
Cough is a common symptom for most minor health complications. However, tracheal cancers give way to persistent coughs. If you do not get rid of a dry cough or experience coughing fits that go on for too long, you may be at risk of a tracheal tumor.
This is where you should know the issue is serious. If your coughing is accompanied by blood, you should seek immediate medical help and get yourself diagnosed with tracheal cancer. It is advisable to go to your doctor the very first time you cough up blood to handle the issue while it is in its early stages.
This is another symptom that is not easily noticeable. You may not notice yourself breathing noisily. If you are repeatedly told by people around you about the same, you should take the matter seriously. Try listening to your breathing with no background distractions. If it does not seem normal, you may want to get yourself diagnosed.
The tumor in your trachea can make swallowing difficult and painful. People often disregard this symptom as a sign of lymph node inflammation. If the issue persists, make sure you seek medical help and get yourself checked for tracheal tumors.
Tracheal tumors expose your respiratory system to a lot of infections. If you experience chest infections, chills, and fevers that keep coming back, you may be tackling a serious issue. Do not waste any more time and seek medical help immediately.
If your voice eventually gets hoarser without any explainable reason, it can be an early sign of tracheal cancer. If the hoarseness in your voice does not go away for too long, you may want to get yourself diagnosed by your doctor.
If you want to stay away from the symptoms discussed above, it is important to take the right preventive measures. A lot of tracheal cancers arise due to unhealthy habits and lifestyles. Try your best to adopt a healthy lifestyle and pay close attention to your body.
Here are a few major ways in which you can prevent the risk of tracheal cancer:
Smoking is a leading cause of tracheal cancers worldwide. It is always advisable to quit smoking if you want a healthy trachea. It is equally important to avoid second-hand smoke as a non-smoker.
Excessive alcohol consumption damages your trachea and can result in tracheal cancer. If at all you drink alcohol, it is advisable to keep it in moderation. If you are a non-drinker, it is better to stay so to avoid several health complications.
A healthy and balanced diet has a positive impact on your tracheal region. The antioxidants and vitamins in vegetables and fruits reduce the risk of issues like tracheal cancer.
These were a few important early signs of tracheal cancer that should be taken seriously. Make sure you reach out to your doctor and get yourself diagnosed to steer clear of serious issues like these.
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