Despite the global load and prevalence of lung cancer, the information about the disease is still clouded with a lot of myths and misconceptions. The one undeniable fact about lung cancer is that it contributes to the maximum number of cancer deaths in the world.
Since the symptoms of lung cancer don’t appear until the patient is in advanced stages, it isn’t surprising that many patients give in to a lot of misinformation surrounding the disease.
This article will demystify some of the most popular lung cancer myths that aren’t actually true at all.
Myth 1 – Lung Cancer only Develops in Smokers
One of the biggest myths surrounding lung cancer is that it only affects smokers. Unfortunately, that isn’t true for the majority of the cases.
Although 80% of the lung cancer diagnosis happens in smokers, the remaining 20% accounts for individuals who are non-smokers but are exposed to different triggers of lung cancer like second-hand smoking, exposure to chemicals, environmental pollution, etc.
At Medanta, we have different experiences. 50% of our patients are non-smokers.
So, if you were of the belief that lung cancer only happens in patients who smoke, that’s potentially a myth and isn’t true.
Myth 2 – Lung Cancer only Affects Older People
Although this has a certain degree of truth to it, it isn’t the sole truth. That means that a lung cancer diagnosis isn’t exclusive to only old people.
Lung cancer is progressive and aggressive disease, which may start slowly but advances too quickly. We get patients of Lung Cancer across all ages starting from early 30s to Late 80s.
Myth 3 – Lung Cancer Risks aren’t Preventable
Despite the heavy global burden of lung cancer, this is also one of the most preventable cancers since the causes are often man-made.
Be it smoking, exposure to chemicals, or even exposure to pollution, lung cancer is preventable.
Taking the right measures at the right time is enough to prevent the risks and also suppress the risks that often take a turn for the worse.
Even studies indicate that 20-30% of the risks of lung cancer are associated with non-smoking issues, including passive smoking, air pollution, chemical exposure, etc.
All of these factors are preventable, provided that you are taking the right measures to avoid all of these triggers that contribute to lung cancer.
Taking extra care in reducing air pollution in the household is also an effective way to prevent and eliminate the risks of lung cancer in many patients. Also, focusing on leading a healthy lifestyle is crucial to keeping the risks of lung cancer to a minimum.
If you have a family history of lung cancer or a genetic predisposition, getting an annual health screening is also effective in keeping the risks of the disease to a bare minimum.
Myth 4 – Lung Cancer is always Fatal
Getting a diagnosis of lung cancer can be terrifying. And, given that lung cancer accounts for the maximum number of cancer deaths in the world, it isn’t surprising that people have a misconception that lung cancer is always fatal.
A lung cancer diagnosis isn’t always a death omen. At Medanta, Dr. Arvind Kumar and our team of lung cancer specialists are consistently working with patients who are in remission, following their diagnosis and treatment.
The chances of recovery after a lung cancer diagnosis depends on the stage the cancer is diagnosed. In most cases, the cancer is diagnosed at an advanced stage when it has already spread from the lungs to other parts of the body.
The survival rate in the patient is around 60-70 % for localized lung cancer and around 8% in patients whose cancer has spread to the other parts of the body.
More advancements in the field of medicine are streamlining early diagnosis and lung cancer treatment in India , especially when it is localized in a place in the lungs. Localized lung cancer tumors, which can be removed by surgery , elevate the survival rate to 80-90% following a diagnosis.
Dr. Arvind Kumar thus emphasizes the importance of paying close attention to the symptoms. If you notice recurring symptoms of coughing, wheezing, and breathing complications, it is ideal to see a doctor instead of taking the symptoms for granted.
Myth 5 – Lung Cancer Surgery Causes Metastasis
Since lung cancer often spreads quite quickly to other parts of the body, getting an early diagnosis, followed by surgical interventions is crucial.
Many patients have a common misconception that undergoing lung cancer surgery is degrading to the body and often leads to elevated risks of metastasis. This is far from the truth though.
Lung cancer surgeries are often life-saving. Getting an early surgery has the potential to completely remove traces of cancer from the body, putting the patient in remission.
If the tumors are localized and smaller in size, oncologists often advise opting for surgical interventions. They are effective and can help in removing cancerous growth with no remnant traces. In case the tumor is large or inoperable, that’s where adjuvant cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation are suggested.
It doesn’t matter if you smoke or you don’t, lung cancer isn’t a disease that distinguishes. Familiarizing yourself with the lung cancer myths and facts is the first step to taking this, often fatal, disease seriously. At Medanta, we consistently urge our patients to prioritize the symptoms. If you feel something is wrong, don’t take the symptoms for granted.
For more details, visit https://drarvindkumar.com/contact-us.php.
1. Does breathing in talcum powder cause lung cancer?
There are a handful of studies that showcase elevated risks of lung cancer in workers who are into talc mining and processing. However, there are no peer-reviewed studies that establish a correlation between talcum powder and the risk of lung cancer.
2. Does stopping smoking stop lung cancer?
People who have lung cancer often have a better prognosis when they stop smoking. Thinking that there’s no point stopping smoking just because one already has lung cancer is a convoluted way of thinking.
3. Does smoking cannabis contribute to lung cancer?
Many individuals live with the misconception that smoking cannabis isn’t associated with lung cancer. That is simply not true because even cannabis smoking can elevate the risks of lung cancer.