The Link Between Facial Swelling and Lung Cancer
Facial swelling may be a major sign of lung cancer, experts warn.
Causes of Facial Edema
Facial edema, although the cause is less known, can occur when a tumor puts pressure on the superior vena cava (SVC), which connects the head to the heart. The thin walls of this vital vein make it vulnerable to pressure.
Most cases of superior vena cava obstruction (SVCO) are caused by lung cancer, according to Macmillan Cancer Support.
Possible Causes of SVCO
They say, “Most cases of SVCO (superior vena cava obstruction) are caused by lung cancer. Cancer can press directly on the SVC. Or it may spread to nearby lymph nodes, which become swollen. Other possible causes: Other cancers are lymph nodes in the chest. These include: “These are lymphomas and cancers of the testis, breast, colon, and esophagus. A blood clot forms in a vein and blocks blood flow. This can happen if you have an IV (central line) – for example, to give you chemotherapy.”
In addition to facial swelling, people may also experience swelling in the neck, arms, and upper chest due to pressure on the veins. Other accompanying symptoms may include shortness of breath, headache, vision changes, blue veins in the chest, or dizziness.
Lung Cancer and Age
The NHS website highlights that lung cancer is rare in people under 40 and mostly affects the elderly.
Smoking and Lung Cancer
While non-smokers can develop lung cancer, smoking is the leading cause, accounting for over 70% of cases. Regular inhalation of various toxic substances while smoking contributes to an increased risk.
For smokers, quitting this habit is an important step in reducing the chance of developing lung cancer.