New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: Lung Cancer is one of the most chronic diseases in the world and as per the stats, it is still the cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Talking about India, 1 out of 68 males fall victim to this chronic health hazard and meanwhile, around 80% of lung cancers get diagnosed at an advanced stage. However, medical science and the healthcare fraternity has progressed to reduce the death count in case of this disease.

There has been a rapid and exponential development in the modalities to manage lung cancer. Right from tools to augment early diagnosis, to targeted chemotherapies, to minimally invasive procedures to treat cancer, healthcare today has a plethora of intervention that can help patients with lung cancer.

But smoking remains the catalyst of higher risk of cancer and the leading contributors to lung cancer in India. So, the question is how do we tackle the burden if India's population continues to smoke death?

Quitting can completely reduce the risk multifold. But if you are already a smoker, how does one go about detecting lung cancer?

Importance of early diagnoses of Lung Cancer 

Smoking is gauged with the number of packets a person smokes per day, for the number of years smoked. In India, as the number of cigarettes per packet are less, a different tool like 'smoking index' is estimated. A low dose CT scan of the lungs is approved for screening of lung cancer in the west, as it has shown to improve survival by detecting the cancer early. In India, people with high smoking index can discuss with their healthcare providers to see if they qualify for a screening CT scan. People suffering from COPD due to smoking are at higher risk and can discuss the timing and need for getting a CT scan for lung cancer screening. Surgery or in some cases Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) cures the lung cancer when detected early.

Staging of lung cancer is crucial

Once lung cancer is diagnosed, the next important step which guides the treatment appropriately is accurate staging. There are imaging techniques which can guide when and how a tissue can be acquired through biopsy for staging and molecular testing. Stages in lung cancer range from stage one to four, with multiple substages as well, to prognosticate and optimally treat the cancer. A minimally invasive procedure called Endobronchial Ultrasound Guided Transbronchial Needle Aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) is now widely available around the country which helps in accurate staging with minimal risk. This procedure is done by a Pulmonologist usually after a PET CT. It can also help in restaging of cancer during the entire treatment course and after.

Common issues in lung cancer

A common problem in advanced lung cancer is fluid accumulation in the pleural space. This is the space between lungs and the chest wall where if fluid gets accumulated, it leads to lung expansion and breathlessness. There are multiple modalities to tackle this menace. Pleuroscopy -- a medical Thoracoscopy can help in diagnosis and treatment of the Pleural Effusion in the same setting. It is carried out under sedation and local anesthesia in an endoscopy suite.

Preventing lung cancer

At the end, it is important to note that preventing is better than undergoing the pain and process of treatment. Quitting tobacco consumption is effective and there are different ways in which healthcare providers help people quit and lead a healthy life. But if you are a smoker and experience symptoms like a long-standing cough that gets worse, chest infections that keep coming back, coughing up blood, pain when breathing or coughing and persistent breathlessness, you must speak to your doctor.

(Disclaimer: The article is purely informative based on the researches and several studies. However, English Jagran does not independently vouch for this report.)

With inputs from IANS.

Posted By: Sanyukta Baijal