World Lung Day: Risk of lung cancer is 24 to 36 times higher in smokers, say experts
According to the World Health Organization, lung cancer accounts for around one in five deaths caused due to cancer globally. Early detection and treatment are key in the treatment of lung cancer.
- Lung cancer today is one of the most common cancers worldwide
- It claims more lives in a year than breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined, say reports
- Out of all the cancer cases, lung cancer accounts for 12.8%
Every year, World Lung Day is observed on September 25. The aim is to recognise the latest achievements in lung health. While medical science has made much progress, a lot is left to be achieved. It's also important to ensure that we have clean and healthy air that is desirable for a world free of lung diseases.
Why do we celebrate world lung day?
World Lung Day is a day of advocacy coordinated by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), of which The Union is a member, for all those affected by, and working to end, respiratory disease.
Lung Cancer: Present Situation
Lung cancer today is one of the most common cancers worldwide. It claims more lives in a year than breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined. According to the World Health Organization, lung cancer accounts for around one in five deaths caused due to cancer globally. Lung cancer cases diagnosed in 2012 were 1.8 million, and the count was 2.09 million for 2018. Moreover, lung cancer claimed 1.76 million lives in 2018 alone.
Out of all the cancer cases, lung cancer accounts for 12.8%. Out of all the mortalities due to cancer, lung cancer accounts for 17.8%.
World Conference on Lung Cancer
The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer hosts World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC). It is the world’s largest conference dedicated to lung cancer. More than 7000 delegates from over 100 countries discuss the latest developments in the field of thoracic malignancy. Attendees include surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, pathologists, epidemiologists, pulmonologists, radiologists, basic research scientists, nurses, etc.
Lung Cancer Reasons
Lung cancer was a rare disease in the early 20th century, the incidence of lung cancer gradually increased with increased smoking to become the most common cancer disease in the world.
Tobacco products, industrial products like uranium, asbestos, radiation, etc., air pollution, and nutritional deficiencies are the factors that play a role in cancer development. Recent studies demonstrate that long-term respiration of carcinogenic materials is one critical factor increasing the risk of lung cancer.
The age at which one starts to smoke, the period of smoking, the type of tobacco and cigarette, and the number of cigarettes smoked influence the development of lung cancer risk.
Some facts on how smoking causes lung cancer:
Smoking is responsible for developing lung cancer by 94%
The risk of lung cancer is 24 to 36 times higher in smokers than in people who do not smokers
The risk of lung cancer is 3.5% in passive smoking
Lung cancer: Symptoms
Knowing key symptoms and screening options is important for the early detection and treatment of lung cancer. Below are some of the symptoms of lung cancer:
- Change in mucus
- Coughing up blood
- Chest or back pain
- Difficulty in swallowing, etc.
Tests used to diagnose lung cancer include the following:
Bronchoscopy and needle biopsies
CT and PET scans, etc.
If someone is currently or was a smoker over the age of 55, one may need a low-dose CT scan screening to detect lung cancer in its earliest stages.
What experts say
According to American Lung Association, 1.6 million people still die from lung cancer each year, making it the number one cancer killer in the U.S. Other lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which kills 3 million people each year, is the fourth leading cause of death nationwide. Additionally, 1 in 13 people suffer from asthma according to the CDC, meaning that more than 25 million Americans struggle every day to breathe because of the disease.
Spreading Awareness on lung cancer
Zee Media spoke to Dr Vikram Jaggi M.D. (Medicine) DNB, Asthma, Chest & Allergy centre, on the disease. Below are his expert take on the matter:
Importance of World Lungs Day
Everyone says and knows 'health is wealth' but it just remained a cliché. But after Covid-19 pandemic, it became very apparent to people that health indeed is wealth. While people place primary importance on heart health, they are now realising that lung health is also very important. Hence we have realised the importance of creating awareness about lung diseases, namely pneumonia, tuberculosis, asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and lung cancer, and also focus on the overall importance of lung health.
How can we take care of our lungs to keep them healthy?
Dr Vikram Jaggi said, "People should not smoke, should be aware of pollution and pollution levels, be conscious of air quality and should take appropriate steps to ensure lung health. Yoga helps a lot in improving lungs' abilities; a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, adequate exercise and staying hydrated - these are some simple steps one can follow to ensure lungs' health.
Lung cancer is a preventable disease. The earlier it is detected, better the chance of surviving it. Knowing statistics, reasons, and symptoms will help one minimise the possibility of developing lung cancer.