Cases of lung cancer rising in India; Nearly 50% patients non-smokers | The Financial Express

Cases of lung cancer rising in India; Nearly 50% patients non-smokers

According to Globocan 2020 data, lung cancer is currently responsible for the largest number of deaths due to any cancer in the country.

Cases of lung cancer rising in India; Nearly 50% patients non-smokers
The team led by Dr. Arvind Kumar, Chairman, Institute of Chest surgery, Chest Onco-surgery and Lung Transplantation, Medanta, Gurugram analysed over 300 lung cancer patients who underwent treatment between March 2012 and November 2022. (FE.com)

A team of doctors at Medanta Hospital, Gurugram on Tuesday released data that revealed that an increasing number of lung cancer patients presenting in the out-patient clinic were non-smokers of a relatively younger age group.

The team led by Dr. Arvind Kumar, Chairman, Institute of Chest surgery, Chest Onco-surgery and Lung Transplantation, Medanta, Gurugram analysed over 300 lung cancer patients who underwent treatment between March 2012 and November 2022.

The study revealed an overall increase in the incidence of Lung Cancer in men and women. It also revealed that nearly 20 percent of patients were found to be less than 50 years of age. The trend showed Lung Cancer developing in Indians about a decade earlier than in their western counterparts. Nearly 10 percent of all patients were less than 40 years of age with 2.6 percent in their 20s.

The analysis also revealed that nearly 50 percent of these patients were non-smokers. Of this, 70 percent patients were in the younger-than-50-years age group and 100 percent patients under 30 years of age were Non-smokers.

According to the doctors, more than 80 percent of patients were diagnosed in the advanced stage of the disease when complete treatment is not possible, and the intent of treatment gets restricted to palliative. There were few significant incidences of misdiagnoses.

In nearly 30 percent of cases, the patients’ condition was initially misdiagnosed as Tuberculosis and treated for many months leading to a delay in definitive diagnosis and treatment. Moreover, only 20 percent of patients were diagnosed in the early stages, when surgery and treatment are possible.

“The study indicates that in the coming decade we are very likely to see an increase in the number of non-smoking Lung Cancer patients of the female gender in younger age group. This risk group is very different from the earlier dominant at-risk demographic of older men who smoke tobacco. The current trend shows that majority cases are likely to be diagnosed late when adequate treatment is not possible, resulting in high mortality due to Lung Cancer. A Lung Cancer Epidemic is foreseeable in near future,” the doctors said while informing the media on Tuesday.

The team also emphasised that that adequate management of this disease needs specialised Thoracic Surgical Centers equipped with the latest technology including key-hole surgery (VATS and robotic surgery) however, there are very few centers in the country that can offer such treatment indicating a lack of preparedness.

“Lung cancer is a dreaded disease with one of the lowest 5-year survival rates. I am shocked by the alarming rise in cases, occurrence in younger individuals, non-smokers, and women. While conventional wisdom says that smoking is the main cause, there is strong evidence now that points to the increasing role of air pollution in the rising incidence of lung cancer. #BeatLungCancer is a humble initiative by Medanta to increase disease awareness, promote screening for early detection, and provide inspiration and support through stories of strength of other patients,” Dr. Arvind Kumar, Chairman, Institute of Chest surgery, Chest Onco-surgery and Lung Transplantation, Medanta, Gurugram said on Tuesday.

According to Globocan 2020 data, lung cancer is currently responsible for the largest number of deaths due to any cancer in the country.

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First published on: 22-11-2022 at 21:23 IST