Lungs are the most vital organs in a human body. Therefore, it is imperative to keep them healthy. You need to take care of the lungs by avoiding toxic gases, contaminants, etc., running in the atmosphere. Further, if you smoke tobacco, reduce it and finally give it up. In addition to all these, it is best to avoid drinking alcohol. If you can’t completely avoid it, at least try to drink it moderately! Avoiding toxic fumes, tobacco, as well as alcohol, is the best ways of prevention of lung cancer.

Lung Cancer – A Brief Overview

Lung cancer is one of the widespread and lethal sorts of cancers. Lung cancer begins due to the abnormal growth of abnormal cells that begin to happen in one or both the lugs. The cells that are found in the air passages are responsible for the disease.  The abnormal cells that grow do no help to the lungs. They multiply fast and result into tumors. As the time passes by, the tumors tend to grow in size; they vitiate the lung’s ability to provide oxygen into the bloodstream.

Lung cancer is responsible for most cancer- caused deaths in both the genders throughout the world.

A few Facts

  • There are five million lung cancer deaths over the world, and 2.41 million of the deaths happened in India.
  • Each year, 250,000 to 300,000 people are being diagnosed as having lung cancer in India.
  • Lung cancer has been found to both in smokers and non-smokers.
  • Lung cancer has been found to be the fifth most common cancer in India.
  • 40% of the patients diagnosed with lung cancer are aged below 50, and 11% of them are aged below 40.
  • Close to 85% lung cancer patients are diagnosed when the disease has reached an advanced stage – when it is not possible to treat even with surgical means.

In many cases, lung cancer is wrongly diagnosed as tuberculosis especially for young patients. A large number of cases of lung cancer are treated as tuberculosis for different durations until the right diagnosis happens.

Risk Factors That Cause Lung Cancer


A risk factor is anything that causes a person from getting infirmity such as cancer. However, be aware that having a risk factor or multiple of them does not lead to cancer. And a few people who have cancer may or may not have risk factors. There are several threat factors that can trigger lung cancer.

  • Tobacco – Tobacco smoking is a high-risk factor with respect to lung cancer. Close to 80% of lung cancer deaths are because of smoking. The risk of lung cancer for a smoker is a manifold higher as compared to those who don’t smoke. You run more risk when you run for a longer duration and smoke more amount of tobacco. Cigar smoking and pipe smoking are as risky as cigarette smoking. Even low-tar/light cigarettes are as risky as the regular ones. If you smoke menthol cigarettes, it might be still riskier because, in such a case, you tend to smoke more deeply.
  • Secondhand smoke: Even if you don’t smoke, inhaling the smoke of others or environmental tobacco smoke can worsen your risk of getting lung cancer. Second hand smoke is reported to be the cause of over 7,000 deaths every year.
  • Radon – Radon is a chemical element occurring as a radioactive gas that comes out when the breakdown of uranium in solid and rocks happens. The issue with radon is you cannot feel it smell it or taste it. There is the very little amount of radon outdoors and is unlikely to be dangerous. However, indoors, radon can more concentrate. Breathing it exposes to radiation that might increase the risk of lung cancer.
  • Asbestos – People working in asbestos (mines textile plants, mills, shipyards, places where insulation is used) are much more heavily run the risk of lung cancer. Of course, we’re not sure how many levels or time exposed to asbestos might raise the risk of lung cancer. Such people are like to develop mesothelioma a type of cancer that beings in the linings surrounding the lungs.
  • Air pollution – It is a common risk of cancer of the lungs. Though this risk is much less that caused by smoking
  • Arsenic – Research shows that high levels of arsenic in drinking water are at high risk for lung cancer. When the level of arsenic is higher than the desirable, drinking water, there is a risk factor for lung cancer.
  • Radiation therapy – Radiation therapy of the chest for other cancers leads to the rise of the risk for lung cancer, and if you smoke it’s worse.
  • Family history – If siblings have had lung cancer, odds are higher that you may get lung cancer higher. The risk is stronger if the person was diagnosed at a younger. However, it cannot be determined – the amount of risk because of family history and how much from shared household exposure
  • Dietary supplements – Research reveals that tobacco smokers consuming beta carotene supplements are more prone to get lung cancer. Therefore, smokers should avoid beta carotene supplement consumption.
  • Workplace – At the workplace, if you’re exposed to radioactive ores like uranium, inhalation of chemicals or minerals like cadmium, vinyl chloride, silica nickel compounds, chromium compounds, mustard gas, diesel exhaust, the risk of getting lung cancer is higher.
  • Talk – Talk is a mineral that contains a natural form of asbestos. Studies show that talk miners and millers carry a high risk of lung cancer and other diseases related to the respiratory tract.
  • Other risk factors – These include marijuana cigarettes, which are highest in tar content. Marijuana is inhaled deeply, and the smoke stays in the lungs for a long time, which may cause it to to get accumulated in the lungs. However, it’s not clear how severe marijuana a risk factor is.

Treating the Lung Cancer

The way of lung cancer treatment depends on different factors such as your health in all, the stage and types of your lung cancer your preferences. In some cases, you may drop out from treatment if there is a feeling that harmful side effects are more than benefits. In that case, your doctor may advise for treatment of symptoms alone like shortness of breath and pain, etc.

Surgery – This is one of the oldest treatment methods and has shown successful results for the patients who are under stage I or II or is not undergone metastasis. With surgery, it is easy to get rid of the disease completely. In this process, at first the tumor is removed and nearby margin tissues. Later further tests are done to check the presence of margin tissue for the presence of cancer cells. If there are no cells found it is declared as negative margins. There are two types of surgeries that are performed for lung cancer patients that are Curative and Palliative. The former one is done for the patients who are at an early stage of lung cancer by removing the tissue. Whereas, the later one does not remove the tissue but makes a way out for air to make the patient feel more relaxed. The surgery process may result in side effects like infections and pain. But with proper care, the same can be cured.

Radiation – Under this treatment process high energy rays are used to cut the cells or to shrink them resulting them to do suicide. This process is used to kill the cells that are still left after surgery. Earlier using this treatment meant destroying the normal and healthy tissues but with modernization, the damage risk has been reduced and now the radiation processes are used in regular intervals with moderation. Still, there are certain side effects that include nausea, irritation, dry skin, etc.

Chemotherapy – This process of treatment involves strong chemicals that are used to kill cancer cells or in order to make them suicide. Here the cells are divided and chemicals utilized accordingly. In this process, normal cells can be further recovered. This is treated as one of the most systematic methods as the chemicals flows all over the body killing the tumor as well as cancer cells. There are various kinds of chemotherapies that are used per the stages of cancer, sometimes before surgery and sometimes after. In this also, side-effects are there are more likely to arise depending upon the health of the patients. If any side effect occurs, the same can be treated using medications.

Precautions that can prevent you from having lung cancer

There are several ways for prevention and control of lung cancer that could help you stay safe from the deadly lung cancer. Knowing about the causes and prevention of lung cancer can help anyone! So here, we are discussing some important prevention tips for lung cancer that include certain dietary and lifestyle habits too. Some of the tips including the primary prevention of lung cancer are also discussed below.

Primary lung cancer prevention methods include controlling smoking as it is the most important factor and is quite effective in controlling lung cancer. Tertiary prevention of lung cancer includes targeting the prevention method individually against certain molecular paths and those treatments to reduce metastasis and its evil effects.

Taking these precautions, you can shun lung cancer easily.

  • No tobacco – If you don’t smoke then ever start. Make sure your children do not start tobacco smoking. Explain to them the evil effects of smoking. Discuss with them the dangerous consequences of smoking.
  • Quit smoking – If you’re a smoker, quit smoking. Giving up smoking help reduce the risks of lung cancer, even if you smoke for years. Speak to your doctor on how to quit smoking.
  • Avoid secondhand smoke – If you stay or work with a smoker, urge them to quit. Or, ask them to go out and smoke. Always avoid smoking where people are there.
  • Consume fruits and vegetables – Make sure to consume a healthy diet with different kinds of fruits and vegetables. Foods sources of vitamins are much better than supplements. Avoid a large dose of vitamins in pills, which are harmful. This is one of the most effective preventions of lung cancer diet. See this list of Cancer fighting foods
  • Exercise regularly – As of today, if you don’t exercise, start exercising regularly. Try as many days as you can and do try yoga for lung cancer
  • Reduce your alcohol consumption -. For men, consuming beer and hard liquor heavily leads to the high risk of lung cancer.
  • Consume Green Tea – Green tea has been found to prevent the damage to cells done by smoking. If you consume more green tea, you have a lower risk of lung cancer.

Lung cancer is indeed considered one of the most dangerous and deadly diseases. In many cases, you can make sure that lung cancer does not happen to you by leading a simple life. Simple life? Yes. Don’t get carried away by mass media of smoking or drinking alcohol. You may not be habituated, and if you just want to ‘taste’ it, and do it frequently, then you become addicted to them.

Also Read: 12 Cancer Causing Foods to Avoid

Leave a reply