How to safeguard yourself against lung cancer

How to safeguard yourself against lung cancer

“The silent epidemic hiding in your lungs” – this was what a leading International daily had to say about lung cancer. How fitting this statement is!

Oncologists say that lung cancer can lie dormant for more than 20 years before turning aggressive all of a sudden. The fact that lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer related deaths makes this ailment a scary one for the victims and their near ones. To make it worse, lung cancer victims have the highest mortality rates among all types of cancers.


5-year survival rates among various types of Cancer patients (in %)


The rising numbers

Doctors say that lung cancer is one disease that they have not been able to curb, despite the advances in medical science. Year after year, the number of people developing lung cancer is only increasing.

India registered a 15% to 20% annual increase in the number of new lung cancer cases. 65,000 Indians developed lung cancer in 2009. By 2013, this number had gone up to 90,000. Physicians say that most of us develop lung cancer by early-50s, while the developed world gets it in mid-60s.

Is it in the air?

The foremost reason of lung cancer, much against the popular belief, is not smoking but acute environmental pollution. A survey by World Health Organisation (WHO) last May rated Delhi as the world’s most polluted city. The reason – the exponential rise in the vehicular population in the Capital region. Add to it, the pollution from the thermal power plants’ emissions, the air which Delhiites breathe is the worst in the world.

Oncologists are of the view that in today’s world, air pollution rather than smoking is the single biggest contributor to lung cancer. According to the National Cancer Registry, the ratio of lung cancer cases in Delhi was 9 per one lakh population in men in 2008, whereas in women, it was 3 per one lakh. Isn’t it a worrying piece of statistic?

Take care of your lungs

All said and done about pollution, kicking the butt is one definite way of protecting yourself against lung cancer. Doctors say that the risk of developing lung cancer for a person who smokes one pack of cigarettes every day is 25 times more than a non-smoker. The tobacco smoke contains carcinogenic (cancer causing) components which makes even a passive smoker vulnerable to lung cancer.

If a person stops smoking, the risk of developing lung cancer decreases with each passing year. So the earlier you quit tobacco, the better the shape of your lungs will be in.

Do you have the warning signs

In case you have the following symptoms, you should not delay your consultation with an oncologist or General Physician to rule out Lung cancer:

  • Persistent cough (one which has been there for close to 2 months)
  • Consistent trouble breathing
  • Recurring respiratory infections
  • Consistent chest pain
  • Blood while coughing or spitting
  • Persistent difficulty swallowing
  • Unexplained weight loss

Please remember that these are just common symptoms. In case, you have been smoking for a long time or have been exposed to hazardous chemicals as part of your job or living, do visit an Oncologist without delay. You can locate a trusted Oncologist near you here:

Are you worried about breast cancer? Our blog sheds light on the symptoms and tips to prevent it:

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