Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women. With increasing prevalence of smoking, lung cancer has reached epidemic proportions in India. It has surpassed the earlier commonest form of cancer. In addition to smoking, occupational exposure to carcinogens, indoor air pollution and dietary factors have recently been implicated in the causation of lung cancer. Let's look at some basic facts of lung cancer:
1. Smoking Is The Leading Risk Factor For Lung Cancer
Smoking is the biggest risk factor, for almost 87 per cent of lung cancers are related to smoking. The risk depends on how long one has been smoking, the age when they started and number of tobacco products smoked per day.
2. Lung Cancer Targets More Than Just Smokers
The greatest risk factor for lung cancer is smoking, but passive smokers can also develop lung cancer. Almost 10 to 15 per cent of lung cancer cases occur in non-smokers, and many of these patients are women.
3. There Are Two Types Of Lung Cancer
Almost 85- 90 per cent of lung cancers are the Non-small Cell type. This cancer grows slowly and does not spread quickly to other organs. The other type, Small Cell Carcinoma, tends to grow faster and spreads to other organs.
4. Know The Warning Signs
Both men and women should know the warning signs of lung cancer. They can be subtle but symptoms to be aware of include coughing regularly, shortness of breath, appetite or weight loss, wheezing and coughing blood. If you have these symptoms, see a doctor immediately.
5. CT Screenings Can Save Lives
Detecting lung cancer can be difficult, but now there are improvised screening tests. But results from the National Lung Screening Trial suggest that screening high-risk individuals with low-dose CT scans can detect tumors at an earlier stage, resulting in improved lung cancer survival. Screening is currently recommended for people who are between the ages of 55 and 74 and who have smoked a pack a day for 30 years and quit less than 15 years ago.
6. New Therapies Show Promise
With updated technology and advanced medication, treatments are available for lung cancer too, depending on cancer type, tumor location, stage and overall health. Options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination.
7. It's Never Too Late To Quit Smoking
Smoking is injurious to health, even the packets claim so. For those who do smoke and decide to quit, within weeks to months the risks of heart attack and lung cancer is reduced.
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