Lung Cancer Awareness Month: What makes it the most common cancer globally? Tips for prevention  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
- Lung Cancer is the most common type of cancer that affects people around the world
- November is observed as Lung Cancer Awareness Month
- Know the various factors that make lung cancer the most common cancer, and what you can do to prevent it
New Delhi: Lungs are one of the most vital organs in the human body. Responsible for the fundamental act of breathing, lungs play a very important role in keeping the body healthy, and the body functions running efficiently. However, in recent times, diseases such as lung cancer have become extremely common. In fact, lung cancer is the most common type of cancer around the world and is responsible for millions of deaths, every year. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, lifestyle factors, and air pollution only add t the already high risk of lung cancer.
Any type of cancer, as of now, does not have a sure-shot cure. While treatments such as therapy, medication, and treatments can help in treating cancer, or in reducing the risk of death, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer remain of utmost importance in improving survival. However, what is even more important than that, is understanding the causes of the deadly disease, and ways to prevent it. Let us understand the factors that make lung cancer the most common cancer globally, and what we can do to minimise our risk of the deadly disease.
What makes lung cancer the most common cancer around the world?
- Smoking – The number of people who use cigarettes has gone up around the world. Smoking has become extremely common among young people, and even teenagers. Smoking is one of the leading causes of lung cancer. About 80 per cent of total lung cancer deaths can be attributed to tobacco smoking, and many others to exposure to second-hand smoke. Smoking has also been found as a risk factor for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
- Gene changes – Changes in genes can also spike risk of lung cancer, even I people who do not smoke. Certain risk factors for lung cancer can cause changes in the DNA of lung cells. These changes can sometimes lead to abnormal growth of cells in the lungs, and cause cancer. DNA, as most people know, can influence our risk of developing certain diseases, including lung cancer.
- Increased exposure to pollutants – Air pollution, global warming, and other climatic emergencies can also lead to a rise in risk of diseases such as lung cancer. Exposure to pollutants can spike the risk of lung diseases such as asthma and COPD, and also lung cancer. Exposure to second-hand smoke from cigarettes also has a similar effect on the body.
Tips to prevent lung cancer and reduce your risk
- Quit smoking – While many people have quit smoking due to the fear of the coronavirus, it is important to ensure the habit stays away. Smoking is the leading cause of deaths due to lung cancer.
- Steer clear of second-hand smoke – Even if you do not smoke yourself, standing around your friends and colleagues while they enjoy a cigarette can be more harmful than you perceive. Make sure you do not expose yourself to second-hand smoke.
- Wear a mask – When the air quality outdoors is very bad, make sure you and your family members use a mask that filters pollutants and keeps you safe.
- Use of air purifiers – You must use air purifiers indoors, as the risk of pollutants indoors is not minimised. You can use an electric air purifier, or keep various indoor plants to purifier the air.
- Healthy, balanced diet – A healthy, balanced diet is key to reduce the risk of health conditions such as lung cancer.
- Breathing exercises – Breathing exercises can help to keep the lungs healthy and clean and may prevent the development of cancer in the vital organ.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a professional healthcare provider if you have any specific questions about any medical matter.