‘Regular health checkups are crucial for early diagnosis and staging of lung cancer’:- Dr. Ramakant Deshpande.
“Skipping routine health checkups and delaying in symptoms based diagnosis of lung cancer can lead to serious complication of the disease. Dr. Ramakant Dehspande, Chief of Thoracic Surgical Oncology, Asian Institute of Oncology speaks about benefits of early diagnosis of lung cancer.”
Often symptoms of lung cancer are confused with general coughing and other related diseases like asthma etc. Lack of awareness and hesitancy to see a doctor for regular health checkups can further complicate the disease. Common myths linking cancer with smoking only may also lead to delay in proper diagnosis for lung cancer.
“Around 60-70% individuals having symptoms of lung cancer do not represent themselves in hospital, which means they are not visiting the hospital at stage 1 or 2 of the disease instead turning up at stage 3 or 4 of lung cancer. At an early stage, patients may just need only one modality to treat while in advanced stage of the disease they may need multiple modalities and complex treatment options,” says Dr. Ramakant Deshpande.
Small cell lung cancer grows and spreads faster than non small cell lung cancer. And local methodology of treatment like surgery or radiation is not useful to cure this type. Non small cell lung cancer accounts for 80-85% of the total number of lung cancer patients.
Small legion located in one area is known as first stage; a little larger tumor is called stage 2; spread within the lungs is called stage 3; and if it spread to other parts then termed as stage 4. The line of treatment changes according to the stage of lung cancer.
Diagnosis of lung cancer
For confirmation and staging of the lung cancer below tests are performed.
This is the basic test done to check any abnormality or presence of legion inside the lung. The test also gives an idea to differentiate between the types of deformity formed in lungs besides establishing a basis for further confirmatory tests.
This test helps establishing the stage of lung cancer, whether early or advanced stage, by exposing surrounding areas of the legion.
This test is performed to check the spread of cancer to other organs. This test is done rarely and shows cancer spread to nearby areas like ribs or vertebrae.
PET CT scan
This is done to detect the total spread in the body, this test also confirms the exact stage of cancer and its possible spread in the body.
Lung Cancer Prevention and health checkup
Timely diagnosis is very important to detect lung cancer at an early stage, which is possible through regular health checkups. Risk factors can be definitely decreased by taking some proactive measures such as:
- Quit smoking and stay away from tobacco to keep lung cancer at bay. Consumption of alcoholic beverages is also linked to an increased risk of lung cancer.
- Avoid any toxic environment that may include the company of smokers, pubs, toxic chemicals. If bound by duty then use a mask.
- Do not go for needless x rays at frequent intervals. Avoid exposure to radiation as much as possible.
- Stick to a balanced, nutritious, and healthy diet comprising of grains, vegetables, and fruits. Adopt an exercise regime for five days a week. A diet rich in fiber, low in fat, and filled with fresh vegetables and fruits can reduce the risk of lung cancer as well as other forms of cancers and heart disorders.
In addition to this, keep a regular check on health status by having full body tests, X-rays, and regular lung cancer checks. Early diagnosis of lung cancer is required for establishing the disease prognosis. Preventive health checks help in determining the body’s health status.
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Dr. Ramakant Deshpande
MS; FICS; FAIS; DHA
Experience: 31+ years
Chief of Thoracic Surgical Oncology, Asian Institute of Oncology
Padmashree award by the President of India in 2014