Hyderbad: Lung cancer is one of the commonest cancers and cause of cancer related deaths all over the world. It accounts for almost 15 per cent of all new cancer cases and 20 per cent of cancer related deaths worldwide.
Smoking is one of the primary reasons for lung cancer. Others are pollution and inherited lung diseases.
Nowadays, women are also being diagnosed with lung cancer and one of the main reasons for this is passive smoking, that is, inhaling cigarette smoke from a smoker.
The excessive burning of biomass fuels, garbage, plastic and rubber in both rural and urban areas is leading to rising incidences of respiratory diseases in not only the young but also senior citizens.
Some of the early symptoms of lung cancer are prolonged cough and sometimes coughing up blood, chest pain, not feeling hungry and losing weight, prolonged fever and headache. If these symptoms are observed, the person should immediately reach out to the doctor.
Speaking about the treatment, Dr Mahboob Khan, the superintendent of Government Chest Hospital said, “Around 30- 40 per cent of the incidence of lung cancer can be revealed by an X-ray, after which the patient should be sent for CT scanning where a nodule can be detected with 95 per cent accuracy and then sent for a bronchoscopy test.”
He said that if a person is diagnosed during the first and second stages of lung cancer, an operation can treat the cancer. “However, if it is diagnosed in the third or fourth stage we will go for chemotherapy and radiotherapy.”
Dr Khan added that 60-70 per cent of lung cancers are diagnosed during the third or fourth stage. In the Government Chest Hospital, every day at least two to three patients are diagnosed with third or fourth stage lung cancer.
Dr V. Nagarjuna Maturu, senior interventional pulmonologist of Yashoda Hospitals, says lung nodules are a common clinical problem.
“Many diseases including lung cancer present as lung nodules. In the initial stages of the disease, the nodules are small and as the disease progresses the nodules increase in size. Diagnosing the nodules when they have increased in size is easy. But for better treatment, we have to diagnose the lesion when it is very small (<1 mm). The current bronchoscopic tools cannot reach such small nodules which are deep within the lungs.”
With technical advances in diagnosis the newer equipment is helping to analyse the CT scan of patients and show the path where exactly there are small nodules. These can be diagnosed and biopsied for those who come in the early stages.
Many tuberculosis patients develop lung cancer and the new technology can help detect lung cancer in these patients earlier.
Lung is a strong organ and the symptoms are not evident till the last stage as the immunity continuously keeps on fighting inside. But when patients with identified diseases such as tuberculosis, asthma and other lung problems seek treatment, it can help to diagnose early and provide effective treatment.
“Over 2 million new lung cancer cases are estimated every year in India. Lung cancer constitutes almost eight per cent of all new cancer cases and 10 per cent of all cancer related deaths in India. But with early detection and advances in treatment, including targeted therapy, immunotherapy and other measures outcome has improved much, but only if detected early,” says Dr Pavan Gorukanti, senior consultant at Yashoda Hospitals.