Lung cancer can be cured if diagnosed early: Experts

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Every year more Nepalis are diagnosed with lung cancer - one of the most lethal cancers. Most patients are diagnosed with it when the disease is in its advanced stage, a city oncologist said.

Speaking to The Post, Nepal Cancer Hospital Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr Sampurna Man Tuladhar said, “If a patient is diagnosed with lung cancer at the fourth stage, the patient can survive between three to fifteen months. It can be cured, if diagnosed early. There are few symptoms in the early stage. People should consider the risks seriously and opt for regular lung cancer screenings.”

According to other oncologists, symptoms of lung cancer may include chronic cough, coughing blood, shortness of breath, chest pain, voice hoarseness, weight loss and fatigue.

Every year, almost two million people globally are diagnosed with lung cancer. The disease is number one cancer killer after colorectal, stomach, liver and breast cancer.

The risk of cancer is high in Nepal because the number of smokers is high and increasing air pollution further escalates the risks.

Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital Oncologist Dr Kamal Raj Soti told the Post, “Smoking tobacco is the leading cause of lung cancer followed by exposure to radiation or chemicals. It can also be hereditary.”

Recent data of tobacco users in Nepal shows around 3.4 million youth in 13 to 17 age group smoke tobacco followed by 10.6 million people of economically active population in the age group 30 - 69 years. Most Nepalis start smoking at the age of 18.

New guidelines published by the American Cancer Society recommend doctors discuss lung-cancer screening with people who meet certain criteria that put them at high risk for developing the disease.

These high-risk patients must be aged 55 to 74 years and in fairly good health, have a smoking history equivalent to a pack a day for 30 years, and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.

“It is not necessary that one should have smoked for a long time. Regardless, all smokers should get routing health screening because you never know,” said Dr Soti.

Ministry of Health and Population Acting Secretary and Chief Specialist Dr Sushil Nath Pyakhurel told the Post, “We are concerned about the increasing incidence of cancer. The government currently provides Rs 100,000 to cancer patients for treatment. It has prohibited the sale and use of tobacco in areas near hospitals, schools and public places.”

While smoking remains the number one cause for lung cancer, recent studies show exposure to air pollution that contains particulate matter as a cause for the disease. Classified diesel engine exhaust too is of one of the increasing causes.

Published: 01-11-2018 07:55


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