Lung cancer: 90% of diagnoses are related to smoking

According to data from the National Cancer Institute (INCA), excessive smoking is responsible for 90% of lung cancer diagnoses worldwide. Brazil. The disease, which occupies the first place in mortality worldwide, it affects more than 30,000 people a year in Brazil and is considered the deadliest, as it has a survival rate that averages 18%.

In order to raise awareness of the seriousness and relationship of the condition to the cigarette, World Lung Cancer Day has been established, which is celebrated this Monday (1st). The purpose of the date, also identified as August White, is to mobilize and strengthen preventive care among the population.


Lung cancer: 90% of diagnoses are related to smoking. Credits: Shutterstock

“The primary risk factor is smoking, both active and passive, and the risk of disease onset and death increases with the intensity of smoking exposure,” says physician William Nassib Jr., medical director of the Center for BP Oncology and Hematology – Beneficência Portuguesa de São Paulo, a health center of excellence and one of the main references in the country for the treatment of the disease.

Only 16% of lung cancer cases are discovered at an early stage. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Persistent cough
  • phlegm with blood
  • Chest pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Shortness of breath
  • recurrent pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Loss of appetite and weight

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CT scans and X-rays are the commonly used methods to diagnose the problem, in addition to biopsy for pathology analysis. “Lung cancer often develops without showing any signs, and it is essential that smokers or people passively exposed to smoke have regular professional follow-up, ensuring that the tumor is detected at an early stage,” explains the specialist.

What is the treatment for lung cancer?

In the case of tumors at an early stage, surgery is the most indicated therapeutic approach. When the cancer reaches the lymph nodes (lymph nodes), the procedure can be performed using radiotherapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy, with the administration of drugs that stimulate the patient’s immune system.

Lung cancer: 90% of diagnoses are related to smoking. Image: Shutterstock/Stokkete

In case of metastases, that is, when the disease has spread far from its point of origin, systemic treatment is necessary.

“There are three treatment modalities for these cases, which are chemotherapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy, which uses a class of drugs responsible for acting on certain molecular characteristics of the tumors”, specifies the doctor.

E-cigarette can?

Also according to the INCA, the Brazilian smoker consumes an average of 17 conventional cigarettes per day. For those who decide to opt for the electronic cigarette believing that it will be beneficial, they are mistaken. According to the Director of Ambulatory Treatment of smoking from the Heart Institute (InCor), Dr. Jaqueline Scholz, the body’s nicotine levels can reach the equivalent of more than 20 traditional cigarettes per day for those who consume electronic cigarettes. Learn more here.

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