Andhra Pradesh

Smoking raises risk of lung cancer: expert

Lung cancer continues to be one of the most common cancers worldwide, claiming more lives every year than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. It is estimated that lung cancer accounts for nearly one in five cancer deaths, accounting for 2.1 million deaths, globally every year.

Lung cancers account for 12.8% of cancer cases and 17.8% of mortalities of cancer worldwide. Lung cancer is a preventable disease. Smoking increases the risk of lung cancer by 24-36 times. The risk is 3.5% in passive smoking, says Dr. Raghunadha Rao, chief consultant medical oncologist, KIMS ICON Hospital, Visakhapatnam.

Exposure to second-hand smoke also increases the risk in non-smokers. The other risks include: air pollution, previous radiation therapy, exposure to radon gas, exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens.

Workplace exposure to asbestos and other substances known to cause cancer — such as arsenic, chromium and nickel — can increase your risk of developing lung cancer, especially if one is a smoker. Lung cancer typically doesn't cause signs and symptoms in its early stages as they typically occur when the disease is at an advanced stage.

The symptoms include persistent cough that doesn’t go away, coughing up blood, shortness of breath, chest pain, hoarseness of voice, losing weight, bone pain and headache.

The two general type of lung cancers are small cell and non-small cell lung cancers. The small cell cancer occurs almost exclusively in heavy smokers and is less common than non-small cell lung cancer. The non-small cell lung cancers include squamous cell carcinoma, adeno carcinoma and large cell carcinoma.

People with an increased risk of lung cancer may consider annual lung cancer screening, using low-dose CT scan. An X-Ray chest, CT chest or sputum cytology is advised depending on symptoms. Tissue biopsy is required for diagnosis confirmation and identifying of cancer, says Dr. Raghunadha Rao.

The treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Quitting smoking reduces the risk of lung cancer, even if one had smoked for years. Options include nicotine replacement products, medications and support groups. One should also avoid second hand smoke and air pollution. A diet full of fruits and vegetables and daily exercise would also help, Dr. Raghunadha Rao added.

Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 9:12:27 AM |

Next Story