When cells in the body grow out of control it is known as Cancer. If cancer starts in the lungs it is known as Lung Cancer. This cancer which begins in the lungs can spread to lymph nodes or other organs in the body, such as the brain. Cancer from other organs can also spread to the lungs.
Among the umpteen number of cancers diagnosed every year, LUNG CANCER is the most frequently diagnosed cancer. 2 million new cases are reported each year worldwide and 1.76 million deaths occur.
Lung Cancer does not see if a person is rich or poor, if he or she is a celebrity or not. Any person who does not take care of his or her health can be affected with Lung Cancer. There are many celebrities who have been diagnosed with Lung Cancer. One among them is our famous actor Mr. Sanjay Dutt.
MR. SANJAY DUTT –A LUNG CANCER SURVIVOR:
Mr. Sanjay Dutt, was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in August, 2020. Though he and his family members were shattered in the beginning, Mr. Dutt fought bravely, faced all the challenges and today with the support of his family, doctors, well-wishers and above all God’s grace he has beaten the lung cancer. He says he has emerged ‘victorious’ in the battle and that it was will power, faith in doctors he was able to recover. He believes that God gives the hardest battles to the strongest soldiers and today he is a lung cancer survivor.
CAUSES FOR LUNG CANCER:
- It is mostly on account of smoking. But today in men it is decreasing more than in women because of the tobacco control policies taken up by the world governments in developed countries.
- Education and socio-economic causes are also related to the disease. People living in poverty are more affected as they do not understand the result of chronic smoking habits.
- Cigarette smoking is much more in individuals with less than a high school education.
- People who work in copper, iron, silver, cobalt, arsenic, bismuth, uranium and radium mines are also prone to lung cancer.
- People who live in unsafe levels of basements, lower building levels and no proper ventilation in the house can get lung cancer.
- People who are exposed to asbestos can also get lung cancer.
- Pollution and air quality is another cause.
- Recently exposure to e-cigarette vapor has increased.
- Lung cancer today is a leading cause of death rate in HIV-infected patients.
- Passive smokers are also prone to lung cancer
The treatment for Lung Cancer depends on the cancer’s specific type how far it has spread and how the person is coping up with it. Treatments include Surgery, Chemotherapy and Radiation therapy. Targeted therapy of lung cancer is growing in importance to treat patients with advanced lung cancer.
1. SURGERY: In the early stages a lobe of the lung is removed (lobectomy). If people are unfit for a full lobectomy a smaller sub wedge resection is done. Radioactive therapy is also performed to reduce the risk of recurrence. Rarely the whole lung is removed.
2. RADIOTHERAPY AND CHEMOTHERAPY: Many a time radiotherapy is combined with chemotherapy. Generally this treatment is given if the patient is not fit for surgery. This form of radiotherapy is called Radical Radiotherapy. A high dose of radiotherapy is given to the brain sometimes to reduce the risk of spreading and sometimes a smaller dose of radiotherapy is given to the chest to control the symptom.
3. CHEMOTHERAPY: This treatment depends on the tumor type. Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) and is in the early stage it is treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. If the patient is fit for treatment in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer Chemotherapy is given as the first-line treatment for survival.
4. TARGETED THERAPY: In advanced cases several drugs that target the molecular pathways are given.
PREVENTION OF LUNG CANCER:
a) Reduce smoking to reduce the risk of getting lung cancer.
b) To help passive smokers from being targeted to the disease in public places like airports, workplaces and so on separate cabin is earmarked for smokers.
c) The World Health Organization has requested the world governments to institute a total ban on promoting advertisements of cigarettes.
d) It is said that this ban has reduced 16% of the youngsters from smoking.
2. MISCELLANEOUS PREVENTIVE MEASURES:
a) Using Vitamin A, C, D, E- does not reduce the risk of lung cancer.
b) People who consume diets with a higher proportions of vegetables and fruits but with less smoking are at a lower risk of getting lung cancer.
LUNG CANCER IN INDIA:
6.9% of all the new cancer cases and 9.3% of all the cancer related deaths in both the sexes in India are Lung Cancer patients. Mizoram stands first in India where both males and females are reported to have lung cancer. There is a significant rise of lung cancer cases reported from Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore in both sexes. Due to the large population in India many cases of lung cancer are reported. Hence drastic measures are also being taken up to reduce people from being affected with the disease.
AWARENESS OF LUNG CANCER:
There is a rise in the awareness of lung cancer and methods to prevent it with healthy lifestyles in cities mostly. Posters are being prepared and the urban and rural masses are being educated by medicos and voluntary organizations about lung cancer causes, treatment and prevention. People need to be educated more in a country like India especially the rural public about the importance of physical activity, high-fat diet, intake of fruits and vegetables. More trained community health workers are needed to educate the public about lung cancer.
EXPERIENCES OF CARETAKERS OF LUNG CANCER PATIENTS:
Any cancer treatment affects not only the patients, but also the family members and caretakers. The family members and caregivers or takers face physical and emotional challenges. The impact is greater on the family than on the patients. They say before and after hospitalization positive support is needed to the patient. Caring is a full time job it starts from the time the disease has started till the complete treatment and continues for years till it is cured. Caring also depends on the stage and type of treatment. Many have experienced negative and positive satisfactory results and most of them have never given up which has helped them to balance their emotions.
For Consultation : Cancer Specialist and oncologist