How Smoking Increases the Risk of Lung Cancer?

Posted On Oct 20, 2022

Dr. Shekhar Salkar

Senior Consultant - Surgical Oncology

Manipal Hospitals - Goa

Lung cancer treatment in Goa

Lung cancer was considered to be one of the rarest diseases during the 1990s. But the prevalence of smoking habits among individuals has shown a drastic increase, which in turn has increased the rate of people getting affected by lung cancer. Not every individual who smokes is diagnosed with lung cancer, but smoking tends to increase the risk of cancer. Reports have revealed that smokers have a 15–30 times greater chance of getting lung cancer when compared with non-smokers. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared lung cancer to be the leading cause of death across the globe, accounting for 1.76 million deaths every year. Around 85% of all lung cancer cases have evolved due to smoking habits. 

Approximately 20%-30% of lung cancer cases have affected non-smokers as they are eventually exposed to second-hand smoke by being exposed to the smoke emitted from burning cigarettes and smoke being exhaled by smokers. Cigarette smoking has increased the risk of lung cancer among 90% of men and 70-80% of women. Visit Manipal Hospitals for lung cancer treatment in Goa.

Tobacco use is associated with cigarette smoking and is responsible for causing one-third of all cancer deaths. The risk of lung cancer is dose-dependent, but it tends to decrease with tobacco cessation, mainly if the individual quits smoking in the early phase of life.

Smoking as a risk factor for Lung Cancer?

Cigarette smoking is the predominant risk factor for the cause of lung cancer. The risk of lung cancer development is higher in smokers when compared to non-smokers. Cigar smoking and pipe smoking are the major risk factors that cause lung cancer that evolved from cigarette smoking. Smoking ordinary cigarettes as well as low-tar or light cigarettes tends to increase the risk of developing lung cancer. Menthol cigarettes have an increased risk of lung cancer as menthol is known for inhaling more deeply.

Second-hand smoke is also associated with smoking which increases the risk of lung cancer. Second-hand smoke is inhaling the smoke of others even though the individual does not smoke. It has resulted in around 7000 deaths from lung cancer every year. Book an appointment at our multi-specialty hospital in Goa to know how to quit smoking. 

Passive smoking and environmental tobacco smoke are known as human carcinogens that have caused more than 50,000 deaths every year. Passive smoking involves two types of smoke evolved from burning tobacco: side-stream smoke evolved from cigars, cigarettes, and pipes containing small particles rich in carcinogens that mix with the cells of the body; and main-stream smoke being exhaled by a smoker.

How does smoking increase the risk of Lung Cancer?

When any individual inhales tobacco smoke, different chemicals enter the human lungs, which damages the DNA of the lungs. The human body has evolved a mechanism for repairing the damaged DNA, but smoking in individuals may cause even more damage to the body. This further results in the formation of cancer cells. The inhalation of tobacco smoke tends to damage the small air sacs, known as alveoli, in the lungs. These alveoli are responsible for respiration. Damage to these alveoli in the lungs leads to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, affecting the lungs and, later, if not treated, results in causing lung cancer. 

Smoking results in causing cell mutations. Even though the human body is capable of detoxifying chemicals, involving several carcinogens, if there are leftover carcinogens, they may cause mutations in the body, transforming normal cells into cancer cells. To know more, consult with our oncologist in Goa.

More smoke inhaled by the individual increases the mutations within them while increasing the chance of the development of cancerous cells. If the individual smokes for a longer period of time, they will have an increased chance of developing lung cancer. Carcinogens from smoke usually affect the cells in the lungs and also tend to enter the bloodstream while traveling through the entire body, resulting in other cancer types also.

Management of lung cancer caused by Smoking

Tobacco cessation among patients with lung cancer will show efficacy in improving the treatment protocols and treatment outcomes. Oncologists assist patients by providing cessation support. The health-related effects of smoking need to be reduced by providing coordinated efforts to reduce tobacco exposure and increasing tobacco cessation support. The regular monitoring of lungs by lung cancer screening and adopting coordinated international tobacco control efforts will help in reducing lung cancer cases in the upcoming future.

Dr. Shekhar Salkar

Senior Consultant - Surgical Oncology

Manipal Hospitals, Goa

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