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Is Lung Cancer Restricted To Smokers? Lung Cancer Awareness Month

To raise awareness and recognition of the typical symptoms of lung cancer, which included a persistent cough, fatigue and loss of appetite. Any patient with these symptoms should approach a physician or oncologist.

As per WHO, lung cancer affects nearly 2 million people every year, in India, it affects 1 lakh people every year. About 10% of cancer cases occur in the lungs whereas 20% of cancer deaths occur due to lung cancer.

It is a common misconception among the general public that lung cancer is only a smokers’ disease. On the contrary, over half of those diagnosed are former smokers or people who have never smoked. This misconception has been linked to poor outcomes, due to factors such as delay in seeking treatment, disease-related distress, reduced social support and lower quality of care, hence awareness will help patients to seek medical attention early and help in diagnosing early and improving cure rates and survival rates.

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As far as prevention is concerned quitting smoking is most effective strategy available as of now. About 10% of lung cancers in USA are due to exposure to indoor radon (released from rocks and soil, which is odourless, colourless) gas exposure. However no data is available regarding this risk factor in Indian lung cancer patients. Screening for lung cancer is only done for high risk individuals (more than 30 pack years of smoking of age 55-80 years) with LDCT (low dose CT scan chest, which has less radiation exposure compared to conventional CT).

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