Smoking tops list of risk factors for lung cancer

Pulmonologists are calling to attention the risk factors for lung cancer given the spike in the number of cases among smokers.

On the occasion of World Lung Cancer Day, alarm bells are being sounded to make people aware of the fact that the risk of lung cancer is 24 to 36 times higher in smokers than in non-smokers.

In India, lung cancer is the most common form of the disease and causes the highest number of deaths. Long-term active smoking and long exposure to environmental carcinogens the risk of developing it increases manifold.

According to Krishnakumar Rathnam, senior consultant, Medical Oncology, Meenakshi Mission Hospital & Research Centre, lungs can be damaged even in women, who are mostly passive smokers. Hence, all should be alert to red signals of affected lungs. The most obvious associated symptoms are persistent cough despite medication, blood in sputum, shortness of breath during exertion, change in voice tonality and excess unintentional loss of weight.

Most of these symptoms remain dormant for a long time and patients tend to approach a doctor only after it becomes painful due to spread in bones and other organs. In India, where tuberculosis is endemic, it becomes difficult to distinguish the symptoms and that causes further delay in diagnosis and treament, Dr. Rathnam warns.

Whereas a timely intervention with a tissue biopsy through bronchoscopy or scan guidance can help in early detection and treatment for disease control.

The oncologist advises mandatory low dose CT scan for smokers once a year to detect any early patches of lung cancer. “But there is no better alternative to quitting smoking at any stage of life to save yourself from this killer disease.”

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 7:47:02 PM |

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