Lung Cancer is one of the most common Cancer worldwide. Symptoms can be chronic cough, blood in sputum, change in voice , weight loss or distant symptoms like bone pain or seizure etc. Most common cause of lung cancer is smoking.
Smoking: In India apart from cigarette smoking other forms of smoking like bidi, Hukka, chewing tobacco in various forms is part of culture. Cigarette smoking is increasing in younger age. Risk of lung cancer is up to 30 times higher in long term smokers compared with lifetime non smoker.
Smoking cessation decreases risk of lung cancer. Lung cancer chances decrease by 25 to 90% by abstinence of more than 15 years. The risk nevertheless is more than a non smoker. Adults who quit smoking on a long term basis can gain 5-10 years of life.
If cessation is not possible even a reduction of smoking also helps. Reducing the number of cigarettes to half decreases the chance of lung cancer by 25%.
Surprisingly up to 20% of lung cancer can happen in non/never smokers. The primary reasons are :-
1) Passive Smoking: Relatives and close associates of a smoker who inhale smoke exhaled by the smoker or room smoke are at increased of lung cancer esp. people who have inhaled passive smoke on long term basis like children. This form of exposure is called as second hand smoke.
2) Environmental pollution: WHO has labeled pollution especially the vehicular exhaust and industrial emission as carcinogen. That means people living in polluted cities are constantly exposed to cancerous agents- there is no escape.
3) Asbestos: Asbestos exposure leads to lung cancer. it is used in industry(textile shipping, insulation, construction). The workers of such industry are at increased risk of developing lung cancer. this product is banned in various countries but asbestos industry continues to thrive in india.
4 )Radon exposure: This colorless and invisible gas is naturally occurring in nature. it has a tendency to accumulate in the basements of buildings. those working for long hours in poorly ventilated buildings situated in radon rich geographical areas are at a high risk of cancer.
5) Chulha cooking: This a common form of cooking in indian villages. long term exposure to chulha cooking in enclosed spaces predispose a person to lung cancer.
6) Genetic factors: Heredity plays an important role in predisposing a person to lung cancer.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help us mitigate some of the above factors .