World Lung Cancer Day: ‘Tobacco damages lung tissue, smokers over 50 must get scans’


Lung cancer is a common form of the disease and claims several lives across the world every year. It is one of the leading forms of cancer in men
followed by the head-neck region and is the fifth most
common cancer affecting women in India.

To spread awareness on the occasion of World Lung Cancer Day which was on August 1, Dr Digambar Behera, Director, Pulmonary Medicine at Fortis Hospital, Mohali, in an advisory explained the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options to prevent lung cancer.

The theme of World Lung Cancer Day-2022 is ‘Close the Care Gap’.

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“Lung cancer occurs due to the uncontrolled growth of cells in the lungs which spread to the surrounding tissues. It can hamper an individual’s respiratory organs. Early diagnosis is important so that treatment can be started at the earliest,” said
Dr Behera.

Stating that smoking is one of the leading causes of lung cancer, Dr Behera, said, “Using tobacco-related products can harm the lung tissue and the ability to inhale oxygen. Tobacco smoke contains carbon monoxide, which can limit the oxygen in your blood, besides 4,000 carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). People above 50 years of age who regularly smoke should undergo lung cancer screening with a low-dose CT scan every year.”

The primary symptoms of lung cancer include cough, blood in the sputum, chest pain, fever, weakness, fatigue, malaise, loss of appetite, and weight loss. The disease usually gets diagnosed in an advanced stage due to rapid progression.

Lung cancer can be diagnosed through lab tests, PET/CT scans, bronchoscopy, and endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS). A bronchoscopy is conducted when a biopsy is done, and fine needle aspiration cytology and examination of the lung fluid also confirm the primary site of cancer. A pathological test helps diagnose the type of cancer and the line of treatment.

Lung cancer therapy primarily comprises surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. Diagnostic facilities are available throughout the country. Targeted therapy and immunotherapy are the most recent advancements in treating lung cancer even at the advanced stages.

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