The number of cancer cases are increasing rapidly in the country. The main causes of the increase can be attributed to a change in lifestyle, an increase in urban pollution, cigarette smoking, complex genetic interactions, and alcohol consumption. Cancer is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The prevalence of cancer varies across India’s different regions, which makes prevention and control extremely difficult.
Lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in India. Smoking is one of the most well-known risk factors for lung cancer. However, it’s crucial to understand that those who have never smoked could still be at risk. The types of lung cancer common in non-smokers are:
• Adenocarcinoma: It originates in the glandular tissue that lines several internal organs and produces and discharges bodily fluids and substances, including mucus and digestive juices.
• Squamous cell carcinomas: It is a type of non-small cell lung cancer. Squamous cell lung tumors frequently develop in the lung’s central part or in a main airway, like the left or right bronchus.
• Mesothelioma: In cases of mesothelioma, malignant tumors start in the membrane that lines and protects the lungs, heart, and abdominal cavity. Pleural mesothelioma is the most prevalent of the three primary kinds of mesothelioma.
The factors that can increase the chance of developing lung cancer in non-smokers are:
• Secondhand smoking: People who don’t smoke are generally exposed to secondhand smoking when they inhale smoke from burning tobacco products or inhale smoke exhaled by smokers.
• Air pollution: Harmful pollutants in the air due to air pollution can increase the risk.
• Genetic mutations: Due to genetic mutations, certain changes occur in the lungs, which can increase the risk of lung cancer in non-smokers.
When to seek medical help?
Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world, so it is essential to talk to a doctor and get treated when a person shows symptoms like coughing up blood, chest pain, hoarseness, loss of appetite, fatigue, recurrent lung infection, swelling on the face or neck, and trouble in breathing.
As lung cancer is by far the most common cancer that results in death in both men and women, getting diagnosed is essential.
Nonsmokers can be diagnosed with the following types of lung cancer:
• Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS): This test determines whether lung cancer has progressed to the lymph nodes located in the middle of the chest, close to the windpipe.
• Bronchoscopy: This procedure looks inside the lungs. This is done with the aid of a bronchoscope, a compact, flexible tube with an end-mounted light, lens, or camera. Through the nose or mouth, the tube is introduced into the trachea (windpipe), down the neck, and into the bronchi and bronchioles of the lungs.
• Fine-needle aspiration (FNA): This procedure extracts tissue samples from lumps or growths in the lung or from other tissues in the chest, such as lymph nodes or the lining of the lungs.
• Thoracoscopic biopsy: An endoscope is placed through the chest wall into the chest cavity after a general anesthesia has been administered. To acquire lung tissue for analysis, a variety of biopsy equipment can be put through the endoscope. The term “video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) biopsy” may be used to describe this practice.
Below are limited options for reliable treatments, which are:
• Radiation Therapy: High-powered energy beams from sources like X-rays and protons are used in radiation therapy to kill cancer cells.
• Chemotherapy: Drugs are used in chemotherapy to kill cancer cells.
• Surgery: Surgery can also be an option for treatment. The surgical procedures that can be done are segmental resection, lobectomy, and wedge resection.
Cancer is a hazardous disease. It is important that people seek medical attention as soon as possible and get treated rather than fretting about these issues.
The author is a senior consultant Pulmonology and sleep medicine, Heart institute and & Multispecialty, Faridabad
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