- Pulmonologists and oncologists at Paras Gurgaon Hospital have witnessed a 20% rise in lung ailments due to increase in pollution.
- Doctors inform the majority of them are non-smokers.
- Oncologists are witnessing a rising trend of lung cancer in nonsmokers due to varied reasons primarily of pollution, indoor pollution, and passive smoking.
Gurgaon, 17th November 2017: Rajinder is a 40-year-old sales manager in one of the trading companies in Delhi. Due to elevated pollution levels, he wasn’t surprised to experience a cough and hoarse voice. When the coughing worsened gradually he shockingly witnessed blood. Worried, he got himself diagnosed in Paras Hospitals Gurgaon. As feared, the doctors informed him he was suffering from lung cancer. Rajinder was taken aback because he was a non-smoker and had never even consumed alcohol.
Dr.Parveen Yadav, Senior Consultant of Surgical Oncology at Paras Hospitals Gurgaon says “It is not surprising for us to witness non-smokers like Rajinder contracting lung cancer. Smoking is not the only medium of increasing your chances of lung cancer. Although smoking is a direct etiological factor for lung cancer recent trends all across the world in last two decades have shown a sharp rise in lung cancer in the nonsmoking population. There is approximately three to a four-fold rise in lung cancer incidence in non-smokers and rapidly catching up with the incidence related to smoking. Almost 45% of lung cancer occurs in Non-Smoking Population as reported in recent studies.
The harmful effects of pollution are being talked about worldwide. Threats from pollution pose a multi-pronged attack on our kidneys, bladder, eyesight and disrupt the general metabolism of our body. Breathing in Delhi is now equivalent to smoking one to two packets of cigarettes per day. But pulmonologists are witnessing a rise in cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), asthma and lung cancer.
DrArunesh Kumar, Senior Consultant, Pulmonology Department, Paras Hospitals Gurgaon, explains, “Respiratory diseases causes shortness of breath. In early stages of obstructive or restrictive lung disease, shortness of breath occurs only with exertion and if the lung condition progresses, breathlessness may occur with the minimal activities also, or even at rest. A cough is the commonest symptom of any lung disease. Usually, the cough is dry or productive of white sputum. People with chronic bronchitis, a form of obstructive lung disease, may cough up larger amounts of colored sputum. Symptoms of depression and anxiety are also common among people with respiratory disease. These symptoms occur more often when lung disease causes significant limitations in activity and lifestyle.”
Medical experts comment on the various sources of contracting respiratory infections. These sources stem from passive smoking and exposure to indoor pollution without proper ventilation. The rising number of vehicles in Delhi is another contributing factor to the growing pollution levels in the city. Doctors underline the importance of wearing masks and avoiding morning jogs and walks when smog covers the city and there is low visibility. Lung cancer does not only hit smokers, it can also affect non-smokers. It is said that about 20% of lung tumors actually develop in non-smokers.
DrArunesh Kumar advises “Due to degrading environmental conditions, health has taken a backseat. Cold air and strong winds are known to be triggers for the respiratory problems. If cold and windy climate bothers, patients should wear a loose scarf or face mask over the nose and mouth, and breathe through your nose on wintry days. Stay warm especially in cold weather. Asthmatics should particularly avoid activity in the cold air and be compliant with your inhalers & medications. Seek Medical help early if health deteriorates. People with chronic lung disease should have yearly flu vaccination & pneumococcal vaccine every 5 years.