Dr. Kaushal Yadav
New Delhi, January 28-Cancer is becoming one of the biggest epidemic of our times given our unhealthy lifestyle and food habits in a fast-moving world. Along with that, we are also surging ahead in finding newer and more advance ways of its treatment. We know now that early detection can even cure it.
However, the treatment is still expensive and painful too, so it is better to have a lifestyle which contributions in keeping you away from cancer. While there are many people around to tell what what health precautions you must take to keep cancer at bay, there are still many myths about Cancer which get circulated on regular basis. To know the right way to stay away from Cancer or to ensure its effective treatment, we must deal with the myths first.
Here are 10 common myths about Cancer you must know:
Myth: Smoking is the only risk factor.
Fact: although smoking is a major contributor, lung cancer can also be caused by radiation exposure, environmental exposure of asbestos, radon and heavy metals like arsenic, nickel, chromium.
Myth: Mostly start with symptoms like cough and pain.
Fact: The majority of patients with lung cancer are diagnosed at an advance stage because of the aggressive nature of the disease and frequent absence of symptoms in early stages. Cough is the most common symptom and present in only half of patients. Other symptoms include blood in sputum, chest pain, difficulty in breathing and hoarseness of voice.
Myth: Pollution is causing more cancer than smoking.
Fact: Although air pollution is a factor, the risk is minor compared to cigarette smoking.
Myth: Lung cancer affects only the elderly.
Fact: lung cancer risk increases after the age of 40 years. Although uncommon, it can affect younger persons also.
Myth: Lung cancer mainly affects men
Fact: Lung cancer is one of the major cause of cancer-related mortality in women worldwide.
Myth: Biopsy spreads lung cancer
Fact: Biopsy helps in diagnosing and classifying the type of lung cancer for proper treatment. It doesn’t increase or spread cancer.
Myth: All lung cancers are the same.
Fact: There are two main types of lung cancers small cell and non-small cells with further subtyping.
Myth: Lung cancer cannot be detected early.
Fact: Awareness of symptoms and the earliest possible assessment by a clinician with a high index of suspicion is a key requirement. Low dose CT scan for screening is also advised in high-risk individuals for the earliest possible detection and treatment
Myth: Lung cancer cannot be cured.
Fact: Mostly lung cancers have late presentation so treatment is directed to prolong survival and improve quality of life. Surgical resection in early stages has great potential for cure. In metastatic stages chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy prolong survival. Radiation therapy also has an important role in lung cancer treatment.
Myth: Surgical removal of one lung is not possible.
Fact: Surgical removal of a lobe of one lung or whole of one lung is possible for a suitable patient with localized lung cancer with good outcomes and excellent cancer control.
(The writer is Surgical Oncologist, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon)