You may already know the association between the Tobacco and lung cancer, but did you know that statistics reveal that 90% of people diagnosed with lung cancer are smokers? Despite several anti-tobacco awareness campaigns and bans in public places, a recent survey by the National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research (NCDIR) of the Indian Council of Medical Research found that Lung cancer is the leading cancer amongst men in Kerala.
Majority of the people diagnosed with lung cancer are from the working age group of 45-60. The estimates were made based on the reports from four hospital-based cancer registries in the state from 2012 to 2014. They have also found that the average prevalence rate of lung cancer at 16%.
Dr V P Gangadharan, leading oncologist and NCDIR scientific advisory committee member said, “We note a high smoking rate in patients with lung cancer. Only 10 to 15% of them are non-smokers. The average age at which they start smoking is 16-20 and they continue to smoke for 15-20 years,”
Tobacco has become the major cause of cancer among men, while some time ago, it was oral cancer that was the leading cancer amongst men due to tobacco chewing. Now, it was the lung cancer that is major cause of death.
Oncologists say that despite the advanced cancer treatments, there are high rate of lung cancer death, and this is due to the disease being detected in much latter stages. “It is a bad disease with poor outcome. Around 60% of lung cancer patients are in stage IV and the average life span is around 12 months,” said Dr Arun Warrier, consultant medical oncologist
The reports were taken from Regional Cancer Centre (RCC), Thiruvananthapuram; Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), Kochi; Malabar Cancer Centre (MCC), Kannur and Caritas Cancer Institute & Caritas Hospital (CCICH), Kottayam. In RCC, 15% of the 11,447 men had undergone lung cancer treatment while it was 11.2% of 6,017 patients in AIMS, 22.9% of 3,934 patients in MCC and 15.7% of 1,659 patients in CCICH. 90% of these lung cancer patients apparently were middle aged.
“Cancers happen when there is DNA damage and there are many factors causing that, including hydrocarbons due to high incidence of smoking or pollution,” said Dr Jojo Joseph, surgical oncologist.
Among Women, Breast Cancer is the leading cancer, with an average prevalence rate of 31%.