The Himalayan Times, 28 Nov 2017
Lung Cancer Awareness Month is observed each year in November to increase awareness about the disease and its effects on health.
As the world is celebrating lung cancer awareness month, more than 30 patients are found to be visiting Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital each month for treatment for the disease in Kathmandu Valley.
According to data provided by Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital, 417 people were diagnosed with lung cancer last year. They were 275 males and 142 females.
Director of Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital Dr Rishikesh Narayan Shrestha says, “Cancer is seen in later stages of life and as life expectancy of the people in Nepal has increased, so have the numbers of cancer patients. Smoking, besides dust and pollution, is a major reason for lung cancer.”
He said 30 per cent of the people are likely to suffer from lung cancer due to second-hand smoking. Therefore, Dr Shrestha advised people to quit smoking. “Smoking in public space should be completely banned,” said the doctor.
Combustion of fuels such as cow dung, wood and pollution are some other factors causing lung cancer. Dust particles in the air are another reason causing difficulty in breathing. The patients suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease due to dust particles. Carcinogenic substances in dust particles are trapped in the alveoli of the lungs resulting in lung cancer, informed Dr Shrestha.
However, awareness about lung cancer is lacking among the public. “People usually come to us only during the late stages. When they arrive it’s already too late. If the patients come in an early stage there are higher chances for survival,” informed the doctor.
If someone has persistent dry cough, weight loss, fever during night, if there is coughing of blood or blood is seen in the sputum then it’s urgent for the patients to visit the nearby doctor as these are symptoms of lung cancer.
“If the patient arrives at an early stage, then treatment becomes effective,” informed Dr Shrestha.
The doctor advised to quit smoking, save oneself from dust and smoke, use alternative energy for cooking and visit doctors once a year to prevent lung cancer.