World Asthma Day 2024: Lung cancer vs asthma; how to differentiate between their symptoms | Health.

On World Asthma Day 2024, it is important to differentiate between the symptoms of lung cancer and asthma, as both conditions can present with similar signs such as coughing and shortness of breath. According to GLOBOCAN 2022, lung cancer accounts for approximately 12.5% of all newly diagnosed cancer cases worldwide, while asthma affects close to 300 million people and is responsible for around 500,000 deaths annually according to WHO statistics.

While wheezing is commonly associated with asthma, chest pain and coughing up blood are indicative of lung cancer. Exposure to irritants and allergens can trigger asthma flare-ups, whereas smoking cigarettes is the primary risk factor for developing lung cancer.

Here are some key differences in symptoms between lung cancer and asthma:

1. Age: Lung cancer is typically diagnosed in the seventh decade of life, whereas asthma is more commonly diagnosed in the second and third decades of life, although it can occur at any age.

2. Wheezing: Wheezing is a characteristic sound associated with asthma attacks, but it is less common in patients with lung cancer.

3. Trigger factors: Asthma has well-known trigger factors such as household dust, pollen, and air pollution, while triggering factors in lung cancer are less understood.

4. Haemoptysis: Coughing up blood, known as haemoptysis, is more common in lung cancer patients (10-20%) than in patients with asthma.

5. Associated symptoms: Patients with lung cancer may experience fatigue, unexplained weight loss, bone pain, and other symptoms not typically seen in asthma patients.

6. Non-resolving symptoms: Asthma symptoms can be well controlled with medication, but symptoms of lung cancer do not improve until specific cancer-directed therapy is initiated.

It is essential to consult a medical professional for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment for either condition. By understanding the key differences in symptoms, individuals can seek timely medical attention and appropriate care based on their specific health needs.

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