Lung cancer awareness month: Is pollution responsible for Lung Cancer?
Dr Chandragouda D, Director and HOD medical Oncology, Akash Hospital, Delhi says “Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world and the vast majority is caused by tobacco smoking but even in the absence of the habit of smoking, present air quality in Delhi is equivalent to inhaling the smoke of at least 30 cigarettes a day. So, environmental causes of cancer, including air pollution, has become a major concern too.”
Dr. Chandra further said that high levels of air pollution triggers the development of diseases like Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and Acute bronchitis; more than 10 million cases has been reported per year in India and are increasing at an alarming rate among non-smokers as well. COPD is the collective term for a group of conditions that damage tissues in the lungs and airways and this damage affects airflow in and out of the lungs, making breathing difficult.
Lung cancer is a serious and potentially deadly disease that affects a person’s ability to breath. With quality of air being compromised both indoors and outdoors, it has a direct impact on the health of children, expecting mothers, and senior citizens as their immune system is fragile. In case one experiences long stretches of wheezing along with trouble breathing. and feel persistent cough, chest pain and shortness of breath, consult with a doctor immediately as they can provide a more accurate diagnosis, considering the condition.
Prevention is always better than cure, so taking few steps and bringing some lifestyle changes will be helpful to lead a better health.
-Reduce indoor pollution by not using incense sticks or agarbattis
-Wear an N95 grade mask while stepping outdoors
-Switch to a healthy diet to strengthen your immune system
-Keep the nasal passage clean with steam and practice regular breathing exercise
-Check the air quality before stepping out and step out only when its necessary
Above all, the Covid-19 pandemic has created more challenge for cancer patients as they are already immune compromised. The coronavirus primarily attacks the lungs and the respiratory tracts. So, anything that harms the lungs can and result in more severe effects if people get infected.
So as a society also, we must take necessary steps and adhere to government guidelines to help reduce pollution and risk of the virus at the same time.