What increases your risk of lung cancer? Know some tips to keep your vital organ healthy  |  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 can spike your risk of lung cancer, and what you can do to keep the organ healthy and safe
New Delhi: Cancer is a deadly disease, the cure for which does not exist, nor do we know the exact causes of why it actually affects someone. Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers around the world and contributes greatly to the healthcare burden. November is observed as Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Understanding the risk factors of the most common type of cancer, and knowing what we can do to keep ourselves safe can go a long way in keeping us healthy, and safe from diseases.
As mentioned before, cancer, be it lung cancer or any other, does not have a clear cause of disease. However, certain factors can, and do, considerably increase your risk of developing such deadly diseases. Dr Meenu Walia, director, Medical Oncology & Haematology, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Vaishali, shares insights on the risk factors that can spike your risk of lung cancer, and what you can do to keep your lung healthy and safe.
Risk factors for Lung Cancer
Lung cancer remains the most diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death worldwide because of inadequate tobacco control policies. Stats published in GLOBOCON estimated 2.1 million lung cancer cases and 1.8 million deaths in 2018. Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for lung cancer and is responsible for approximately 22% of cancer deaths. Overall, the chance that a man will develop lung cancer in his lifetime is about 1 in 15; for a woman, the risk is about 1 in 17. These numbers include both smokers and non-smokers. For smokers, the risk is much higher, while for non-smokers, the risk in today’s time is no less.
In the Indian scenario, lung cancer is the second most common cancer in men and the fifth most common cancer in both men and women together. Smoking has been very predominant in rural parts of India and now with westernization syncing in with our culture, increase in stress, social participation, smoking has become a fashion amongst Indian youth and taking the next level with shisha hookah bars growing like mushrooms.
No matter, how cool our heroes look while puffing smoke and humming “Fiqr ko dhue me udata chala gaya” on screen, in the real world it is not at all the same. Off lately, the number of incidences has seen a spike in case of non-smokers as well and the major reason behind it is passive smoking or second-hand smoke and the increasing pollution.
What can you do to protect yourself?
- Quit smoking and avoid second-hand smoke.
- Protect yourself from air pollution. Wear a mask whenever going outside.
- Lower exposure to workplace risk factors such as toxic chemicals at work.
- Use air purifiers in your home, office, and cars.
- Plant more trees and have air-purifying plants indoors.
- Exercise regularly.
- Follow a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
- Replace sugar with jaggery (Gud) as it is known to be a lung cleanser.
- Take steam daily.
COVID-19 is the new enemy that is leaving no stone unturned to affect our lungs, and while people are taking precautions, it does increase the risk and affects one adversely if they do not have healthy lungs. Thus, it is crucial to take more precautions, take care of your respiratory health, prevent cancer and save lives.
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.