“Smoking kills. If you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life.” — Brooke Shields
Lung cancer is a disease caused due to uncontrollable growth of tissues and tumors in the lungs. Smoking is the major cause of the Lung Cancer and it occurs between the ages of 45 to 70. There are two types (Primary Lung Cancer and Secondary Lung Cancer) of lung cancers identified in the medical world. Primary Lung Cancer affects lungs only but secondary Lung Cancer affects some other parts of the body. The spreading of the tumor is also called as Metastasis.
The amount of cigarettes you smoke is measured in terms of ‘pack years’. A pack year is equal to smoking of 20 cigarettes a day for one year. Five pack years over a lifetime is the lower threshold – below which the extra risk of lung cancer from smoking is fairly small. Five pack years would be 20-a-day for 5 years, 10-a-day for 10 years, 5-a-day for 20 years etc. Low level of smoking over a long period of time also causes notable effect on a person’s health.
The major causes of Lung Cancer are as follows:
• Cigarette Smoking
• Second hand smoke
• Occupational chemicals
Smoking causes 90% cancer deaths in which lung cancer is prevalent. Lung cancer is responsible for more cancer deaths than other cancers like colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. Lung cancer majorly attacks at the age of 45. United States is a country where 25% of the population smokes and prevalence of Lung Cancer is more. The lifetime risk of developing lung cancer in smokers is approximately 10%. More than 170,000 new patients are diagnosed each year with lung cancer. Tobacco smoke also causes chronic lung disease and contributes to cancer of the bladder, pancreas and kidney. Cigarette smoke contains hazardous gases like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, as well as tiny solid particles containing tar, which damages cells in the airways of your lungs.
The symptoms of lung cancer are as follows:
• Chest pain with deep breathing
• Coughing up blood
• Shortness of breathing
• Swelling in the neck and face
• Weight loss
• Loss of appetite
• Respiratory infections
• Difficulty in swallowing
While most of lung cancer cases recover in a natural healing process, the below strategies can be helpful to recover easily:
• Antioxidants: A good diet with fresh fruit and vegetables will give you antioxidants, vitamins A, B and C which helps in reducing the symptoms of cancer formation.
• Reduce saturated fats: Reducing saturated fats in your diet can be helpful to reduce the risk factors.
• Do breathing exercises: Breathings exercises improve lung function.
• Avoid Polluted areas and asbestos: Polluted environments can increase your risk of developing lung cancer.
• Avoid second-hand smoke: Second hand smoke aggravates your lungs and excite you back to your old habits. It is advisable to avoid second hand smoke.
American cancer society reveals below interesting facts about lung cancer:
Smoking at the age of 16 or 17 causes more genetic damage on a person’s health. At this point, cells in the body are dividing more rapidly to injure your body. There is no age consideration for quitting smoking. Even stopping at the age of 60 also increases the chances of risk factors significantly.
As soon as you stop, you start to feel the benefit.
1. After 20 minutes: Your blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal.
2. After one day: Your body eliminates carbon monoxide and your lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking trash.
3. After 72 hours: Your breathing becomes easier. The bronchial tubes begin to relax and your energy levels increase.
4. By 2 to 12 weeks: Your circulation has improved throughout the body.
5. Between 3 to 9 months later: Coughing and wheezing will be improved. Lung function could have increased by around 10 per cent.
6. After 10 years: The risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker.
Importance of age
Age also plays key role in the prevalence of lung cancer. Below factors are applicable in considering the age factor.
• Never smoked: People at the age of 75 also have 0.5 percent chances of getting lung cancer if they never smoke also.
• 30-years-old: If you started smoking in your teens and gave up at 30, you would have a 1.8 per cent chance of getting lung cancer by the age of 75.
• 40-years-old: You would have a 3 percent chance of getting lung cancer by the age of 75. By 40, some people will have developed signs of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) in which the airways become narrowed, chronic bronchitis and long term disease of lungs.
• 50-years-old: You would have a 6 per cent chance of getting lung cancer by the age of 75.
• 60-years-old: You would have a 10 per cent chance of getting lung cancer by the age of 75. If you quit at this point, the decline in lung function will not be as fast as if you continued to smoke. Stopping at 60 will still reduce the risk of lung cancer.
Cancer Facts & Figures 2011 reveals various interesting facts about lung cancer and smoking:
• Total Lung Cancer cases identified are 221,130 and out of them 115,060, males and 106, 070, females.
• Total deaths due to lung cancer are 156,940 and out of them are 85,600 males and 71, 340, females.
• The average age of diagnosis: The average age at which lung cancer is diagnosed is 71, with less than 3% of lung cancers diagnosed under the age of 45.
• Lifetime Risk of Lung Cancer: The overall risk of developing lung cancer during your lifetime is 1 in 13 for men, and 1 in 16 for women.
• Cost of Lung Cancer: In 2004, 9.6 billion amounts were spent on the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer in the United States.
• Lung cancer survival rate: The overall 5-year survival rate for all stages of lung cancer in US is:
– 13.7% for white men
– 18.3% for white women
– 10.8% for black men
– 14.5% for black women
• Lung Cancer Stage at Diagnosis: Over half of lung cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage:
• 16% are diagnosed in the primary stage
• 25% are diagnosed after the disease spread to the lymph nodes
• 51% are diagnosed after they have spread to distant regions of the body
• As per the US surgeon General’s Report on smoking and Health in 1964, 22% of men and 17% of women smokes daily.
• Cigarette smoking among the age group of 18 decreased 50% in between 1965 and 2009 from 42% to 21%.
• Smokeless tobacco products are a major source of cancer-causing nitrosamines and known cause of human cancer.
• It also reveals that about 3,400 non-smoking adults die of lung cancer as a result of breathing secondhand smoke.
• It also says that more than $193 billion amount spend on annual health-related costs in the United States.
• Nearly 18.9% of adults were determined as current smokers, among them 21.0% are men and 17.0% are women.
As soon as a person quits smoking, his health shows beneficial impact. Breathing becomes easier and the risk of serious disease starts to reduce. A non smoker has less risk factor than someone who smokes. A person who smokes 10 a day will be 10 times more likely to develop lung cancer, someone who smokes 20 a day will be 20 times more likely, and 30 cigarettes a day, 30 times more likely to develop lung cancer by the time they are 75.
When a person quit the habit of smoking he/she suffers from side effects like:
• Fluctuations in heart rate
• Digestion system disorders
• Muscle tone
• Less appetite
• High/Low Temperature
• Personality disorders
• Weight Gain
1. Myth: Only Smokers Get Lung Cancer
Fact: The majority of the people who develop lung cancer are ex-smokers. Ten percent of people and 20% of women with lung cancer are lifelong non-smokers.
2. Myth: Lung Cancer Rates Are Declining Now That Fewer People Smoke
Fact: It can be determined on the basis of gender. 1991 to 2005, lung cancer rates decreased 1.8% per year among men, but increased 0.5% per year among women.
3. Myth: Living in a Polluted City is a Greater Risk Than Smoking
Fact: Being exposed to air pollution raise the risk of lung cancer; however, the risk is small in comparison to smoking.
4. Myth: If I Already Have Lung Cancer, it Doesn’t Pay to Quit Smoking
Fact: There are several reasons to quit smoking after the diagnosis of lung cancer. Quitting smoking raise the success rate of surgery and makes treatment more effective.
5. Myth: I Am Too Young to Have Lung Cancer
Fact: Lung cancer is more common in older people, but can occur in young people and even children.
6. Myth: I Am Too Old for My Lung Cancer to be Treated
Fact: Chronological age alone shouldn’t determine whether or not the lung cancer is treated.
Many organizations banned smoking in work places. Because smoking not only affects the health of smokers but also harms people around him. Tobacco smoke also affects the non smokers around the smokers. Second hand smoke causes irritation to eyes, respiratory and heart problems.
Smoke free work places effects on:
• Employee absenteeism
• Less productivity on-the-job
• Early retirement due to bad health
• More health care costs for smokers
• More health insurance costs
• High life insurance premiums
• High maintenance costs to employers
• More risk of fire damage and explosions
Some strategies to design smoke free work place:
• Establish a workplace committee with all department people of the organization
• Ensure that every employee of the organization are involved in the committee activities
• All the employees of the organization should be communicated well about the smoke free activities
• Provide information and support to smokers.
• Determine disciplinary measures
• Follow a time table for implementation of the policies
• Provide training to committee members if required
• Evaluate and monitor implementation properly
1. Lung Cancer Statistics – Overview of Lung Cancer Statistics- About.Com
2. Top 10 Lung Cancer Myths-About.Com