QUIT Smoking, It Causes Lung Cancer

QUIT Smoking, It Causes Lung Cancer

If you are in the prime of your youth and addicted to smoking as well, and recently for the last few days you are suffering from the problem of severe coughing and you cough out phlegm/ sputum, better be alert. If you live in a small congested & over-crowded house where sunrays or fresh air rarely reach inside or if you are working in such an environment where smoke, dust, cotton fibers or tiny metallic particles are in abundance, and you have started coughing out a lot of sputum and sometimes blood also, you should be alarmed, because this is a warning signal for either lung cancer or tumour or tuberculosis of lung. If timely treatment is not started, any of the these three conditions can either kill you or can destroy your lung completely.

In our country incidence of lung cancer, tumour and tuberculosis of lung is rapidly rising. The most important cause of this recent rising trend is the increased incidence in the smoking habits of our young generation.

The main causative factors for lung cancer are Benzopyrin and Nitrosoanornicotine which are present in smokes of cigarette, and Hubble -bubble (Hukka). A person who is a tobacco chewer as well as a smoker too at the same time, is undoubtedly likely to develop, not only the lung cancer but also other serious conditions like diseases of heart, arteries and asthma.

According to one scientific study, the more you smoke cigarettes, more destruction will be there of your lung. In one survey conducted in our country, about 7000 persons in the age group of the 45 years and above were examined for the condition of their lungs. In the study it was found that about 700 of them were suffering from lung cancer. All these lung cancer patients were either chronic and regular smoker or chronic tobacco- chewers.

How to Suspect a Lung Cancer?

  1. In about 80 per cent of cases, a lung cancer starts with cough and sputum.
  2. In one third of cases of lung cancer patients, blood comes out from the mouth either during or after coughing. Sometimes quantity of blood coughed out is so enormous that the patient may loose his life. In such situations, immediate operation is required to control bleeding.
  3. Chest pain is a very important indicator of lung cancer. About 50% of lung cancer patients suffer from chest pain. The onset of chest pain in a lung cancer patient indicates that the cancer has reached an advanced stage and has engulfed its surrounding structures like nerves and arteries. If you are a chronic smoker or a tobacco-chewer and you have started feeling heaviness or pain in chest or shoulder recently, immediately you should consult a THORACIC or a LUNG CANCER SURGEON instead of a General Cancer Surgeon.
  4. If you have recently started feeling breathlessness or developed gurgling sound while breathing and at the sometime you are chronic smoker or a tobacco chewer too, please do not be careless.
  5. If even after repeated aspiration of fluid from the chest cavity through a needle, you find recurrent accumulation of fluid around the lungs in the chest cavity, be careful. These repeated happenings of fluid collection in the chest simply indicate towards the possibility of a lung cancer.
  6. If you are a chronic smoker or a tobacco-chewer and you have noticed some swelling or tumour mass in the lower part of your neck or appearance of blue-colored veins in the neck or over the upper part of chest, this means you are very much close to a lung cancer.
  7. If a chronic smoker has noticed very recently a change in his voice or his voice has become thick and heavy, this must alert you immediately. You must consult a Thoracic or a Lung Cancer Surgeon. Sometimes a lung cancer patient feels difficulty in swallowing, when an advanced lung cancer engulfs its neighboring food pipe co-existent in the chest cavity.

Investigations in a Case of Lung Cancer :

Chest x-ray plays a very important role in the early diagnosis of a lung cancer. Silent & hidden cancer in the lung in a patient without any complaint are unmasked & identified just by a simple chest X-ray. The great advantage of chest X-ray is that a hidden cancer if caught on chest X-ray in its early stage can be treated effectively. All measure of treatment however effective they may be, are bound to fail, if a lung cancer is diagnosed late. If a slight doubt of lung cancer on chest X-ray, further investigations which are very important must be carried out.

It is very important to know how far a lung cancer has spread inside the chest and how many and how much of surrounding structures inside the chest have been encroached by the lung cancer. To get such a valuable information, specialized investigations like Spiral C.T. scan and MRI are required. It is also very important to know, what type of lung cancer is there and its present condition. This important piece of information is obtained through microscopic examination of a tiny portion of lung cancer, which is taken out from the cancerous portion through a needle that is inserted under the observation and guidance of bronchoscope or C.T. scan. Sometimes we need methods like Mediastinoscopy and Thoracosopy for biopsy of lung cancer which is a must to evaluate cancer.

On the basis of these investigations, a treatment strategy is planned. In majority of the cases. surgery offers the only effective method of treatment of a lung cancer. Surgery must be performed immediately without fail as soon as diagnosis is confirmed, otherwise lung cancer will become life-threatening. A delayed operation in a case of lung cancer is tantamount to a no operation. The patients of lung cancer must remember that in a few cases even after surgery, some other forms of therapies like chemotherapy, radiotherapy might be required later on.

The operation for lung cancer must be done in those hospitals where a 24-hour availability of a Thoracic Oncosurgeon or Lung Cancer Surgeon is there. The hospitals having general cancer specialty treatment are not well suited for lung cancer treatment. A good cancer hospital or department as anywhere in the world, must have organ specific cancer specialties like Head & Neck Cancer Specialist, Gastro Cancer Specialist, Gynecological Cancer Specialist, Breast Cancer specialist & Lung Cancer Specialist and etc. Besides these, a good cancer hospital must be equipped with full-fledged facilities for other modes of cancer treatment like chemotherapy and radiotherapy. A hospital must have a modern Intensive Care Unit equipped with sufficient number of latest supportive equipments like ventilators.

In about 15% of lung cancer cases, surgery due to some special medical reasons is not very beneficial to the patient. In such cases, special anti cancer medicines is given through intravenous injections. This treatment is called chemotherapy. At the same time, the portion of lung affected with cancer is subjected to high voltage rays emitted from a special machine. This kind of treatment is called radiotherapy. These rays kill the cancer cells. For the purpose of radiotherapy one must choose a hospital where the facility of a latest Linear Accelator machine is available because radiotherapy done through linear accelerator machines, normal organs and areas in the surrounding and adjacent to cancerous portion remains totally safe.n

Submitted By
Dr. K. K. Pandey. The author is a Senior Thoracic Oncosurgeon, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi. Also specialist in Cardiathoracic and Vascular Surgery.

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