“Lung cancer is the biggest killer, but its main risk factors are modifiable”

GECP Campaign for World Lung Cancer Day | 1st of August

“MenMadeCancer” (“cancer made by man”, in Portuguese) is the motto of the Lung Cancer Study Group’s (GECP) new campaign for World Lung Cancer Day, which is celebrated every year on August 1. .

This action aims to alert the population to the modification of behaviour, considering that smoking increases the risk of developing lung cancer by approximately 10 and that environmental exposure to carcinogenic substances is also a significant cause.

“Based on the known data that 80 to 85% of lung cancer cases are due to smoking, it is up to us to influence the public to change this behavior by quitting smoking,” warns Teresa Almodovar, president of the board of directors of GECP, and adds .that “We remind you that tobacco consumption is one of the main causes of preventable death in the world – eliminate tobacco and, in this way, act in the prevention of various pathologies , including lung cancer, is in our hands.”

This means that non-smokers can choose not to start smoking and those who smoke also have the choice to quit. In this context, the doctor recalls that “stopping smoking is always beneficial and makes all the difference, whether or not in the presence of a diagnosis of cancer”.

Moreover, environmental pollution has also been identified as a considerable cause of this type of cancer. “There are several studies that refer to exposure to car exhaust, especially diesel. We are also exposed to asbestos, which is widely used in construction, and radon (a radioactive natural gas), as well as certain chemicals”. Also at this level, “man (human being) is responsible for all these factors which can be the cause of a lung tumor”, points out the specialist in pulmonology.

In 2020, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were 5400 new lung cancer diagnoses in Portugal, of which 4797 resulted in deaths.

In the campaign for this date, “the focus is on the actions that each of us can take to reduce the impact of this disease, whether by reducing exposure to tobacco smoke (active and passive), or by reducing exposure to the aforementioned pollutants”.

As it is a silent disease, which makes early diagnosis and treatment difficult, and which progresses rapidly, “the fight must be on the side of prevention”. Although with components to explain and study on all the factors at the origin of this pathology, “we can (and we must) act on what we already know”.

About lung cancer:

O cancer lung is one of the most common cancers in the world. Its incidence is increasing at a rate of 0.5% per year.

In Portugal, around 5,000 new cases of lung cancer were diagnosed in 2020, which is the third most frequent neoplasm. It is, however, the leading cause of cancer death in the country, estimated to have caused 4,671 deaths in 2018.

About GECP:

The Lung Cancer Study Group (CPEG) was born in 2000 following a general need to unite our efforts to promote knowledge in pulmonary oncology. It brings together a multidisciplinary group of health professionals, maintaining close links with other scientific groups and societies, universities and civil society organizations.

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