1st of August, is celebrated as World Lung Cancer Day, a day aimed at raising awareness about the disease and its global impact. World Lung Cancer Day also commemorates and supports people impacted by lung cancer, a dreaded disease with one of the lowest five-year survival rates.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), lung cancer is by far the biggest cancer killer, claiming 7.6 million lives globally each year.
The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) states that lung cancer kills more people yearly than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined.
It is estimated that lung cancer accounts for nearly one in five cancer deaths globally. Lung cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the lungs. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, although it can occur in non-smokers.
In an alarming finding, a new study has found that air pollution has emerged as a major factor for lung disease in India, especially among younger age group.
As per the study conducted by the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH), Delhi, along with Lung Care Foundation, 50 percent of lung cancer patients in India are non-smokers.
The study also revealed that 30 percent of the patient, studied for the report, was initially misdiagnosed as tuberculosis and treated for the same for many months before starting cancer treatment.
What is lung cancer? How would you know that you are developing signs of lung cancer?
Like all cancers, lung cancer results from an abnormality in the body’s basic unit of life, the cell usually in the cells that line the passages.
The abnormal cells divide rapidly and form tumours, which can be benign or malignant. Also, the lung is a very common site for metastasis from malignant tumours in other parts of the body.
The signs and symptoms of lung cancer can vary and usually occur only when the disease is advanced. Common symptoms of lung cancer may include:
A cough that doesn’t go away and gets worse over time
Coughing up blood, even a small amount
Constant chest pain
Shortness of breath
Neck and face swelling
Unexplained weight loss
You should see a doctor if you have any persistent signs or symptoms that concern you.
Can you prevent lung cancer?
There is no definite way to prevent lung cancer, but you can reduce your risk by taking certain steps, which include –
Not smoking or quitting smoking
Avoiding secondhand smoke
Avoiding exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens
Eating a healthy diet consisting of a variety of fruits and vegetables
Staying physically active
Although lung cancer can also occur in people who have never smoked, smoking cessation is the most important measure you can take to prevent the development of the disease.>