All About Lung Cancer’s Medical Myths
According to Dr. Sandeep Nayak, lung cancer will be the second most common cancer worldwide in 2025, with 2.21 million cases after breast cancer. It resulted in the deaths of 1.8 million people.
Lung cancer is widely misunderstood, despite its prevalence. We enlisted the help of Bangalore’s leading cancer specialist, Dr. Sandeep Nayak, to help us get to the bottom of things.
In 2009, Dr. Sandeep Nayak completed Basic and Advanced Operative Laparoscopy training courses at the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi.
1. Lung cancer affects only smokers.
“That is not right,” Dr. Sandeep Nayak of Bangalore explained, “and unfortunately, it is a harmful myth that causes stigma.”
Secondhand smoke causes approximately 7,300 lung cancer deaths in nonsmokers each year, with another 2,900 deaths due to radon exposure.
2. There is no way to mitigate the danger.
Dr. Sandeep Nayak of Bangalore explained, “There are several ways to reduce lung cancer risk. Smoking prevention and cessation are first and foremost.”
Here are some evidence-based tips to assist anyone who is trying to quit smoking.
Dr. Sandeep Nayak also stressed the importance of limiting secondhand smoke exposure, also known as passive smoking.
Dr. Sandeep Nayak explains, “Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work have a 20–30% increased risk of lung cancer.”
Dr. Sandeep Nayak stated, “Other smoking products are also considered to be a potential risk for lung cancer development.” In high-risk populations, such as people over 50 who have smoked a pack a day for 20 years or more, lung cancer screening with a low-dose CT scan reduces lung cancer mortality by more than 20%.
3. Lung cancer affects only the elderly.
“That is not right.” cancer doctor, Dr. Sandeep Nayak, confirmed. Although more than half of lung cancer patients are over the age of 65, “a growing number of younger individuals under the age of 50-40, particularly women, are developing lung cancer.”
4. Living in a polluted city increases the risk of lung cancer more than smoking.
There is strong evidence that traffic pollution increases the risk of lung cancer. The authors of a meta-analysis that looked into this, for example, came to the following conclusion:
“Lung cancer risk was positively associated with exposure to sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, nitrogen dioxide, and granular particulate matter.” Professional drivers’ exposure to air pollution raised the number and death of lung cancer significantly.”
Comparisons between pollution and smoking, on the other hand, are more challenging to make. “Living in polluted cities is a risk factor, but no one knows for sure whether it is worse than smoking, and the combination could be even worse,” Dr. Sandeep Nayak explained.
5. ‘I’ve been smoking for years, and there’s no way I’m going to stop now.’
“Smoking cessation significantly reduces the risk of lung cancer,” according to Dr. Sandeep Nayak.
Aside from lung cancer, quitting smoking lowers the risk of various other illnesses, such as heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
“Quitting smoking at any age, regardless of how old you are or how long you’ve been a smoker, improves your health. When you quit smoking, you will likely add years to your life, breathe easier, have more energy, and save money,” says Bangalore-based Dr. Sandeep Nayak.
6. Cannabis smoking does not increase the risk of lung cancer.
“We believe cannabis is a risk factor,” Dr. Sandeep Nayak said, but more long-term studies are needed.
There is limited and contradictory epidemiological evidence for a link between cannabis and lung cancer.
He explained that one of the challenges in studying this link is that people who smoke cannabis also smoke tobacco. This makes separating the effects of each factor more difficult.
7. You can continue to smoke even if you have lung cancer.
This isn’t correct. “Individuals with lung cancer who stop smoking have a more approving diagnosis,” confirmed Dr. Sandeep Nayak, in addition to the numerous benefits of quitting smoking.
8. Surgery for lung cancer hastens the spread of the disease.
Dr. Sandeep Nayak says, “No, lung cancer surgery does not cause lung cancer to spread.” He then explained why early surgery is so necessary and the steps taken to prevent the disease from spreading.
“In early-stage lung cancer, surgery is recommended.” He explained that at this point, it is capable of curing cancer.
Adjuvant treatment, like immunotherapy or chemotherapy before surgery, will further decrease the chance of having cancer cells within the blood if a tumor is big or has loco-regional distribution. This approach increases survival and lowers the risk of death, according to Dr. Sandeep Nayak.
9. Inhaling talcum powder raises the risk of lung cancer.
“Talcum has not been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer,” says Dr. Sandeep Nayak.
He explained how the legend may have begun:
“Some studies have found a slightly higher risk of lung cancer in people who work in talc mining and processing, but it’s unclear whether this is due to the mineral or other underground contaminants are known to cause lung cancer, such as the radioactive gas radon.”
10. I would have symptoms if I had lung cancer.
Dr. Sandeep Nayak explained, “Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Lung cancer can be detected in people who are completely asymptomatic or who have only minor respiratory symptoms.”
This is one of the reasons why lung cancer screening in high-risk people is so important, according to him. He noted that screening might have an advantage even in nonsmokers, but studies have yet to confirm this.
Studies on lung cancer screening in non-smokers are ongoing, emphasizing that early detection of lung cancer improves survival rates.
11. Lung cancer is invariably fatal.
Fortunately, this is also not true. When doctors identify lung cancer quickly, it “has a restorative rate of more than 60%,” according to Dr. Sandeep Nayak.
“Even lung cancer diagnosed in more advanced stages today has a much better chance of long-term survival in certain situations,” he continued.
Over the last decade, there has been tremendous progress in therapy and outcomes for patients with advanced lung cancer who have specific genetic mutations that particular treatments can target.
12. Antioxidant supplements can help prevent lung cancer.
Several clinical studies have been conducted because antioxidants play an important role in protecting our cells from DNA damage that could include cancer-causing mutations or other genomic abnormalities, Dr. Sandeep Nayak explained. Unfortunately, most have failed to show any conclusive safeguard against lung cancer inside a clinical environment.
A few studies suggest that dietary antioxidants such as carotenoids and vitamin C may protect against lung cancer, but the overall findings are mixed.
More specific studies in well-defined smoking populations, as well as studies of antioxidant ‘doses,’ are needed.”
About The Author:
Murshid Paravath is a passionate health blogger. Enjoys writing about all of the health-related issues that affect various parts of the body and addressing her readers about the care that needs to be taken in today’s world.