Since its inception in 2012, World Lung Cancer Day has been observed every year on August 1st. Lung cancer was a rare disease in the early 20th century but its incidence has gradually increased with the increase in the habit of smoking. Now, it has become one of the most common cancers in the world. As per the latest report by the World Health Organization, 2.21 million new cases of lung cancer have been reported. Thankfully, lung cancer is a preventable disease. Medicircle is conducting a series to raise awareness about the right habits and correct information to avoid all chances of lung cancer by speaking to eminent specialists in this domain.
Dr. Rahul Bahot is an enterprising Chest and Sleep Physician from Mumbai city. With exceptional skills in the management of Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Interstitial Lung Diseases, Sleep apnea, Occupational Lung Diseases, and MDR Tuberculosis, Dr. Rahul demonstrates a perfect blend of clinical knowledge and skills with characteristic traits of humility, compassion, and empathy.
Lung cancer - Causes
Dr. Rahul says, “Previously it was a disease of an elderly age group but now it is getting common in young age groups also. Abuse of substances like smoking, drugs releases 50 million carcinogens. Carcinogens contain ingredients that cause cancer. Smoking affects all the organs of the body. Passive inhaling or second-hand smoking of any smoke can also damage our lungs. Third-hand smoke is what's left behind when someone has been smoking. Third-hand smoke lands and stays on nearly every surface in the area where someone has been smoking, including on skin, hair, clothing, furniture, and flooring. So, if you inhale this smoke, causes damage to lungs.”
Dr. Rahul further explains, “There are other things also which can cause lung cancer other than smoking. A study conducted in 2011 revealed that even intake of coffee can lead to the risk of developing lung cancer. The environment in which we are living is not at all clean. Cities are polluted with petroleum products and smog. Living in such a bad environment, if we do not pay attention to our lifestyle, we make ourselves more prone to diseases. If you are detected with cancer, doctors can only control the situation from getting worse. Doctors can't cure it fully. Precaution is always better than cure. Lifestyle plays a very important role. People living nearby to any type of power plants increase their risk of developing cancers.”
Other causes of lung cancer
Dr. Rahul expresses, “Highest cases of the advanced stage of lung cancers are seen in developed countries like United States of America, Russia. This is not only because of smoking but also due to depletion of the ozone layer, air pollution, radioactive materials leakage, radioactive wastes, nuclear power plants. Repetitive exposure to radiation like CT scans can also lead to lung cancer. So, it is important to wear a protective shield and follow SOP while working in such areas.”
Dr. Rahul adds, “We all should try to eat fresh hygienic food and should plant more and more trees. Planting trees helps to reduce the radiation. They slow the depletion of the ozone layer. Places where there are uranium mines, radioactive nuclear mines power plants, contaminate of environment air and increases the risk of diseases. Even in rural areas, use of chulha, its smoke leads to COPD which further causes cancer.”
Effect of COVID on patients of lung cancer
Dr. Rahul mentions, “Chemotherapy and radiation therapy is generally given as the treatment to the patients of lung cancer, suppresses the body immunity. Now, these immunocompromised patients are more likely to catch any type of infection. These patients should follow protocols and rules. Wear original N 95 masks properly. If you are using tissue paper, it has to be properly discarded, hand hygiene is a must. Wash your hands for 20 seconds, this will decrease the rate of transmission of not only Covid but other influenza viruses. You need to wash hands frequently for 20 sec, wear a mask and follow respiratory etiquettes. This is the solution for any flu infection.”
A message for cancer patients
Dr. Rahul emphasizes, “Acceptance is very important. The person should accept the fact that he/she has been detected with cancer. Secondly, cancer is not the end, the early stages of cancer have got effective treatment. The patient should always hope to live a positive life. They can start doing breathing exercises, this will increase breathing capacity. Following respiratory etiquettes will help in preventing respiratory disorders. Yoga – pranayama, anulom vilom simple exercises have a beautiful effect on the immune system. The patient should keep a positive attitude towards everything."
Giving his example Dr. Rahul speaks that he is suffering from Parkinson's disease for the past 15 years. He has been living life without limits. Yoga, exercise, a healthy lifestyle, and a positive attitude have helped him to live these many years. He is living with the disease but has not lost hope.
(Edited by Renu Gupta)