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Lung cancer: An unsettling change to your face could indicate your risk

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed

Lung cancer: An unsettling change to your face could indicate your risk

People with advanced cancer may notice a swelling on the face or neck. According to Cancer Research UK, this is called superior vena cava obstruction (SVCO). As Macmillan UK explained, the superior vena cava (SVC) is a big vein in the middle of the chest. It carries blood from the upper body to the heart. If cancer presses on the SVC, it may block the flow of blood along this vein. The charity said: “SVCO is usually caused by a lung cancer near this vein and less commonly other types of cancer.”

As Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation (RCLCF) explains, many people will think a swollen face is the sign of an allergic reaction.

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“However, swelling of the face can be caused by a superior vena cava obstruction, which is usually caused by lung cancer,” explains the health body.

The superior vena cava is a large vein in the chest – it carries blood from the upper half of the body into the heart.

According to RCLCF, superior vena cava obstruction occurs when something stops the blood flowing.

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Other symptoms of SVCO may include:

A feeling of fullness in the face when bending over

Breathlessness

Headaches

Swelling in the hands, and veins on a person’s chest

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Feeling dizzy

Changes in a person’s eyesight.

How to respond to symptoms

According to the NHS, you should see a GP if you have symptoms of lung cancer, such as breathlessness or a persistent cough.

As the health body explains, the GP will ask about your general health and your symptoms.

“They may examine you and ask you to breathe into a device called a spirometer, which measures how much air you breathe in and out,” it says.

Who’s at risk?

There are some factors that can increase your risk of developing lung cancer.

Having any of these risk factors doesn’t mean that you will definitely get cancer, however.

Smoking tobacco is the biggest cause of lung cancer in the UK – around seven out of 10 lung cancers are caused by smoking, reports Cancer Research UK.

If you are struggling to quit smoking, you call the NHS Smokefree helpline on 0300 123 1044, open Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm and Saturday to Sunday, 11am to 4pm.

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Lung cancer: An unsettling change to your face could indicate your risk
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