Lung Cancer Leading To Maximum Cancer Deaths: Causes, Precautions And More

Posted on December 20, 2010 in Health and Life

By Ananya Mukherjee:

Do you smoke a cigarette? Do you wear an ‘I don’t care’ attitude on your sleeves? Or are you trying to defend yourself by stating an example of an 80 years old regular smoker who is still alive without cancer? Considering the fact that cigarette smoking is not the sole cause of lung cancer and believing in the fact that the advertisement warning against cancer on the cover of a cigarette packet is not enough, I have decided to jot down all the roots to lung cancer in anticipation that many would read, some would learn and one would do some viral marketing.

Cancer occurs when there is uncontrolled cell growth in tissues. Some of the main causes of any cancer include carcinogens (such as those in tobacco smoke, CO clad smoke), ionizing radiation, and viral infection. This exposure causes several cumulative changes to the DNA in the tissue that lines the bronchi of the lungs (the bronchial epithelium). As more and more tissues become damaged, eventually a cancer develops. According to the medical journals, lung cancer accounts for the maximum number of deaths due to cancer in the world.

Some of the symptoms of lung cancer include cough (sometimes with blood), fever, loss of appetite and weight, pain in chest, breathlessness, clubbing of finger nails and metastasis to the brain.

According to a study conducted by some scientists from India, Canada and UK, which was published in the New England Journal Of Medicine, 900 field workers gathered some facts and figures from a sample of 1.1 million homes in India.

  • Smoking accounts for 20 percent of all male deaths and 5 percent of all female deaths among Indians between the ages of 30 and 69.
  • About 61 percent of men who smoke can expect to die between the ages of 30 and 69, compared with only 41 percent of non-smoking men who are similar in other ways.
  • About 62 percent of women who smoke can expect to die between the ages of 30 and 69, compared to only 38 percent of non-smoking women.
  • On average, men who smoke bidi shorten their lives by about six years. Men who smoke full-sized cigarettes lose about 10 years of life.
  • Bidi-smoking women shorten their lives by about eight years on average.
  • Smoking 1-7 bidis a day, for example, raised mortality risks by 25 percent while smoking an equal number of cigarettes daily doubled the risk of death to 50 percent.

It has been observed that the tobacco companies are now targeting the developing countries rather than the developed countries. One reason could be that awareness, regulations and societal pressure have resulted in decreased number of smokers in developed nations.

Apart from tobacco, air pollution has become a threat to human lungs. Kolkata is considered to be the most polluted metropolitan city India followed by Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai respectively. According to Scientific and Environmental Research Institute, more than 18 persons per one lakh people in Kolkata fall victim to lung cancer every year. Although the high court has orders for vehicles to use only CNG or LPG as fuel. The worst offenders in Kolkata are still the auto-rickshaw drivers because half of them are not registered and most of them use ‘kantatel’, a deadly fuel made of kerosene and petrol. Worse, they have a strong trade union and nobody can touch them.

There is a famous saying, ‘It is better to be safe than sorry’. It is time that we focus on this saying. With the rising corporate stress and the stress of increasing cost of living, people tend to hunt for smaller alternatives that will either help them combat the stress or make their living a little easier. But what we fail to focus on is that if there is no health what should we do with the wealth? Why do we understand what pain is only when it comes to us? Why can’t we step into someone else’s shoes and analyze the gravity of the situation? High time we do it before it becomes a pain for every living being to even breathe! As a courtesy to the nation, health and your friends who smoke, please share this article through Facebook, Twitter and all possible channels you can tap into.