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Lung Cancer in India - Are We Witnessing an Epidemic?

Bronchopulmonary cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Annually, more than 1.3 million new cases and over 1.2 million deaths are reported.

Bronchial lung cancer is the most common in the world, but the least publicized. The disease is stigmatized because of its association with smoking, being regarded as an “auto provided” disease, although about 13% of cases occur in people who have never smoked. Also, funding allocated to research is lower than for other types of cancer.

Tablet with the diagnosis Lung cancer on the display

What Is Lung Cancer?

The term “lung cancer” describes abnormal cell growth in the lungs. Due to the rich vasculature and lymph nodes, lung cancer can spread in the body with ease. The disease metastasis into lymph nodes, brain, bones, liver, etc. In most cases, it is diagnosed when it spreads beyond the lungs. Diagnosis is often late and because there is no effective screening method. Most types of lung cancer develop slowly and often need a long period for the symptoms to occur. Lung cancer is asymptomatic in 15% of cases. In oncology many symptoms are trivial. Here are some of these:

  • a persistent cough (is present in 46% of cases);
  • weight loss (32%), a late sign, according to the specialist;
  • dyspnea (30%);
  • chest pain (30%);
  • fever (28%);
  • Hemoptysis (27%).

9 out of 10 patients are smokers

According to the specialist reports, tobacco is the main cause of illness in 85-90% of cases. The risk is primarily correlated with the time the person smoked. The risk of developing Lung cancer decreases each year since quitting smoking, so tobacco cessation is beneficial at any time, regardless of the length of time the person smoked.

Other causes that lead to lung cancer:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Exposure to the environment/work on chemicals: asbestos, arsenic, nickel, chromium, silicon
  • Radiation
  • Passive smoking
  • Atmospheric pollution
  • Irradiation
  • Tuberculosis

According to reports, around 6.9% of new cancer cases and 9.3% cancer-related deaths are reported in India. The lung cancer showed a significant rise in Bengaluru, Delhi, and Chennai in both sexes. Pulmonary cancer is affecting women at a high rate as compared to males. Females with a family history of breast cancer are also at high risk of lung cancer.