In our world today, we know the relationship between lung cancer and smoking.
Incidence and prevalence
Lung cancer is among the most common types of cancer worldwide. According to a report of Patricia M. de Groot, published in Translation Lung Cancer Research, in the United States alone, 121,680 (men) and 112,350 (women) had Lung cancer in 2018.
Historically and medically, lung cancer has always been attributed to unhealthy lifestyles and smoking.
Factors to consider
This genre of carcinoma can often be caused by a combination of genetic factors thus increased awareness can lead to earlier diagnosis, better prognosis, and reduced lung-cancer deaths.
Stacy Simon of the American Cancer Society recounts that as many as 20% of people who die yearly from Lung cancer in the United States have never smoked or used any other form of tobacco. This means 30,000 Americans in 2018; with this, lung cancer can unarguably rank as top 10 fatal cancers among non-smokers.
Experts and recent studies are calling for Lung carcinoma to be given greater attention and recognition in never-smokers (non-smokers).
In the UK, Professor Paul Cosford, a Lead author affirms that recent papers (studies) demonstrated that each year, an estimated 6,000 people who have never smoked before died as a result of lung cancer in the UK.
This makes it the eighth most common cancer-related cause of death in the UK.
Prevalence in women
Since time immemorial, lung cancer was regarded as a disease or punishment for smoking but recent studies put up a little challenge. There is a need for increased awareness, proper health education, reformed policy and other factors that will curtail indoor and outdoor air pollution.
Women are not left out in this ravaging disease; we know that smoking increases the likelihood of dying from lung cancer as within just a few days of quitting smoking, the level of carbon monoxide in your blood will drop to a significant level. This change will directly improve the transportation of oxygen to your cells and it will also lower the risk of other chronic diseases like cardiac, hepatic and renal failures.
Beth Battaglino, RN-c, CEO of Health Women said that lung cancer should never be underestimated in non-smokers. ‘’In non-smokers, lung cancer tends to occur at younger ages’’, Beth said.
Some factors causing this malignant lung tumor is above human control but these known factors can reduce our risk of getting the dreaded Lung cancer. The factors include but not limited to:
Second-hand smoke: Just inhaling another’s smoke is as bad as smoking itself if not worse. It results in about 7000 deaths each year (Beth Battaglino, 2018).
Outdoor air pollution: including metals, dust, diesel engine exhaust, and particulate matters.
Also, Exposure to radon gas, workplace contaminants, gene mutations and exposure to other cancer- causing products like asbestos and unhealthy air.
Diet rich in fruits and vegetables is an essential tool for lung cancer prevention. These fruits/veggies contain antioxidants; antioxidants scavenge on free-radicals and by this action, the incidence and prevalence of the killer-cancer are significantly reduced.
For non-smokers, being aware of the risk factors is a necessary step and clinicians in collaboration with policymakers should be ready to properly educate on the relationships.
Need for Information:
Healthcare providers need to be aware of the danger in order to help the general public. As ever, proper-information is the one-end-solution to reducing the incidence rate of lung cancer in non-smokers.
- Patricia M. De Groot et. al. (Jun. 2018) The epidemiology of Lung cancer https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6037963/
- The Sage (April 2019) Lung cancer under-recognized in people who have never smoked https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190426075418.htm
- Stacy Simon (Oct. 2018) Lung Cancer risk for Non-smokers https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/why-lung-cancer-strikes-nonsmokers.html
- Beth Battaglino (2018) Why are women who never smoked getting Lung cancer https://www.healthywomen.org/content/article/why-are-women-who-never-smoked-getting-lung-cancer