Global Prevalence of Lung Cancer: Causes, Risks, and Advanced Treatments
Living in the post-industrial revolution world with all the comforts of life has its hazards as much as benefits. The healthcare concerns based on lifestyle and environmental causes are increasing at an alarming rate. Cancer is one such life-threatening disease that has witnessed a concerning prevalence among humans.
Every year, millions of lives are lost due to the disease. According to the WHO report, cancer accounted for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020. Among the various types of cancers, lung cancer is the most common disease and accounted for approximately 2.21 million cases in 2020.
Due to major causes such as increasing air pollution and dangerous smoking habits among people, the number of cancer cases and related mortality rates are expected to grow even further in the future. The estimated number of lung cancer cases in the U.S. for the year 2030 is expected to increase to around 224,000 patients. According to cancer.net, the new cases of lung and bronchus cancer in the U.S. is estimated to be around 236,740, and deaths due to lung and bronchus cancer are estimated to be 130,180 in the year 2022.
The alarmingly high prevalence and the mortality rate have created an unprecedented burden on the healthcare system. Healthcare researchers and professionals are trying to make the best use of the available advanced technology to develop efficient diagnostics and treatment processes for tackling cancer.
Lung cancer genomic testing is one such solution that has caught the attention of experts in recent years. It is a molecular analysis of the tumor to identify the specific type of mutation that varies with the genetics of every person. This process helps the doctors to determine the best treatment process that would be most effective for a particular patient.
Although the global lung cancer genomic testing market is still in the budding phase, various companies are investing heavily in research and development to facilitate the development of lung cancer genomic testing.
The rise in the adoption of lung cancer genomic testing is attributed to the shift of healthcare systems toward precision diagnostic and precision medicine. The advanced technology facilitates informed decision-making abilities and improved healthcare outcomes for cancer treatment. Increasing recommendations by the international oncology societies for the use of genomic testing for lung cancer diagnosis provides major opportunities in the global lung cancer genomic testing market.
According to the BIS Research report, the lung cancer genomic testing medicine market was valued at $1,26 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $3.27 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 8.97% during the forecast period 2021-2031.
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Causes and Risks of Lung cancer
To raise awareness and educate people about the dangers of the disease, it is essential to understand its root causes, risks, and solutions. This article is going to discuss the same in further detail. Following can be considered some of the cancer causes:
- Smoking- Smoking is the most hazardous habit acquired by humans. It is considered to be the number one cause of lung cancer as 90% of lung cancer cases are attributed to the extreme smoking habits in the patients. Tobacco smoke contains many dangerous chemicals that are known to cause lung cancer.
The chemicals released from cigarette smoke do harm not only the smokers but also the people around them inhaling the smoke through the air. Breathing second-hand smoke puts people at risk for lung cancer or other respiratory illnesses.
- Hazardous Chemicals– Exposure to certain hazardous chemicals such as asbestos, uranium, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nickel, and petroleum poses a lung cancer risk. For the people living in the proximity of the industries releasing these chemicals, the risk of cancer is higher.
- Particle Pollution- Due to various causes of air pollution, such as factories, vehicles, mining activities, etc., the air is filled with a mix of very tiny solid and liquid particles, which are extremely dangerous for human health. Evidence shows that particles present in the polluted air increase the risk of lung cancer.
- Genes- Genetic factors also play a crucial role in one’s chances of developing lung cancer. A family history of lung cancer may mean a person is at a higher risk of getting the disease. If someone in the family has or has ever had lung cancer, it is important to consult a doctor and take precautionary care.
Treatments Available for Lung Cancer
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is designed to kill rapidly growing cancerous cells by appropriately using anti-cancer drugs. In the chemotherapy process, the drugs may be injected into a vein through an intravenous (IV) or through a catheter-a flexible tube inserted through a narrow opening into a body cavity. Some chemotherapy drugs are also prescribed to be taken orally as a pill.
In the early stages, chemotherapy may be used in combination with surgery to improve the survival rates of the patients. In more advanced stages, chemotherapy is used to relieve painful symptoms and extend life.
However, chemotherapy affects both normal cells and cancer cells, which causes severe side effects in the body. Doctors try to curb the side effects as much as possible while using chemotherapy. Side effects depend largely on the type of drug and the dosage given to patients. They can affect each person differently and may affect temporarily. The most common side effects of chemotherapy include nausea, hair loss, mouth sores, and/or fatigue.
- Radiation Therapy: In radiation therapy, high-energy X-Rays are projected toward the targeted organ to kill cancer cells. It can be used as a primary treatment or in combination with chemotherapy or surgery, depending on the intensity of the disease. It helps provide relief from pain, blockage of airways, shortness of breath, and other painful symptoms for patients with advanced cancer stages.
Radiation therapy is a “focused” treatment. It is designed to maximize the therapeutic effect on the cancer cells while minimizing damage to normal cells. Radiation to treat lung cancer most often comes from external radiation sources such as beam machines. Sometimes, the radiation may be projected internally using tubes that place a radioactive seed directly near the tumor. This method is known as internal radiation or brachytherapy.
- Surgery: Surgery is the most standard method of treating early-stage lung cancer. Doctors remove the tumor and surrounding lung tissue through the surgical procedure, which gives the best chance of recovery for patients whose disease is localized. Surgery must be performed by specialized thoracic surgeons with expertise in lung cancer treatment and other chest malignancies. Surgeons determine whether a tumor is removable or not. Most tumors are difficult to remove due to their location near complex or vital structures.
For patients with multiple medical problems or poor lung function, surgery may not be the best option. This is carefully determined by a team of experts, including pulmonologists, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists, who work collaboratively on the treatment.
Cancer is one such challenging and dangerous disease for which humans have been trying to find a cure for centuries. However, due to the technological advancements healthcare industry has made exceptional breakthroughs in curbing the progress of the disease and facilitating effective diagnosis at its early stages. Lung cancer genomic testing is one such example of an advanced diagnostic tool that has benefited many people.
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