World Lung Cancer Day – 1st August
World Lung Cancer Day is observed on the first day of August every year to raise awareness of the challenges and threats about lung cancer, its causes, treatment and celebrate the new research into diagnoses and treatment breakthroughs which could lead to its cure. The theme for the year 2022 is “Close the Care Gap”. Lung cancer is the second most common form of cancer in the world and claims more lives yearly than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined.
Most understand that smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, but, lesser known causes like environmental exposure to radon, asbestos, arsenic, beryllium and uranium have also been linked. Long term exposure to carcinogenic materials like radon gas, uranium, and asbestos play a major role in lung cancer along with genetic factors like family history of lung cancer as well as a history of cancer in another part of the body and lung diseases like Chronic Obstructive pulmonary Disease (COPD). The other lesser known causes are bad diet, an unhealthy lifestyle, pollution etc.
Passive smoking which is frequent exposure to other people’s tobacco smoke can increase the risk of developing lung cancer. Certain chemicals and substances like arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, coal and coke fumes, silica and nickel which are used in several occupations and industries also lead to lung cancer.
Most people with lung cancer do not have any signs or symptoms until the cancer is advanced. Symptoms may include :
· Chest or back pain
· Shortness of breath
· Coughing up blood and difficulty swallowing
· Persistent tiredness or lack of energy
· Unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite
· Coughing that does not go away after 2 to 3 weeks or gets worse.
· Bone pain
· Chest infections that keep coming back
· Fluid in the chest
Lung cancers are usually grouped into two main types, namely :
1) Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) – This occurs mostly among heavy smokers and spreads quickly than other types of lung cancer. There are two different types namely ,
a) Small cell carcinoma
b) Combined small cell carcinoma
2) Non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) – The most common type of lung cancer which grows and spreads more slowly than small cell lung cancer. The three main kinds are the following :
a) Adenocarcinoma – The most common type of lung cancer in people who have never smoked and starts in the mucus making glands cells in the lining of the airways.
b) Large cell carcinoma – They are a group of cancers with large, abnormal-looking cells. These tumors may begin anywhere in the lungs
c) Squamous cell carcinoma – It is also called epidermoid carcinoma and develops in the flat cells that cover the surface of the airways. It tends to grow near the middle of the lungs.
Other lung cancers include :
1) Lung nodules – They are small masses of tissue which may be benign, precancerous or metastatic tumors that have spread from other parts of the body.
2) Mesothelioma – A rare cancer of the chest lining, mostly caused by asbestos exposure.
Chest wall tumors – They may be primary tumors or metastatic tumors.
4) Metastasized cancer - Some cancers in the lung are the result of pulmonary metastasis, i.e., cancer that began in another part of the body and spread to the lung through the lymphatic system or bloodstream. Some cancers that often spread to the lung are bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, kidney cancer, neuroblastoma, prostate cancer and Wilms’ tumor.
Ruby Cancer Centre, a unit of Ruby General Hospital is the first NABH accredited Cancer Centre in Kolkata. It has a world class Radiation Oncology service. It also has a comprehensive Cancer Care facility with surgical, medical and radiation oncology services.
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