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Currently, lung cancer is the most common and the worst prognosis in Poland. Every year, about 21 thousand. new cases. Only 12 percent. survives 5 years from the diagnosis of the disease. Approx. 3.5 million Poles suffer from serious chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and 15 thousand from every year he dies because of it. Doctors say in unison: cigarettes are to blame. If everyone quit smoking today, our he alth would improve significantly in 10 years.

Poland is one of the countries with high incidence and mortality rates fromlung cancer . Among the reasons, specialists mention low he alth awareness of Poles and neglect of preventive examinations. We are not in the habit of having our lungs checked regularly, and doctors rarely tell us to do so. X-rays are usually recommended in special cases. The first neoplastic changes in the lungs cannot always be detected on the basis of X-rays. Small nodules are sometimes difficult to find even with tomography. Lung cancer in the initial stage does not give any symptoms, so people who have clear signs of the disease (coughing, spitting blood, losing weight) are most often referred to a doctor, and then the cancer is already in an advanced stage.

The greatest enemy of the lungs is active and passive smoking. Where the anti-smoking campaign began earlier than in Poland (USA, UK), a decline in lung cancer incidence is observed.

Little speech bubble - big problem

One hundred years ago in publications on cancer it was read that lung cancer is an extremely rare disease. Today, more than 3,000 people die from it every day in the world. people. The smoking boom started after the war, mostly in the United States. At the beginning of the 1980s, almost 15 million Poles were heavy smokers. Among people between the ages of 20 and 30, 80 percent smoked. men and every second woman. The neoplastic process in the lungs takes just 20-30 years. No wonder that today most tumors are diagnosed in people in the 6th and 7th decade of life.

If someone has smoked for 30 years, the risk of lung cancer does not decrease the day after you quit smoking. Only after 20 years does he come close to the risk of a person who has never smoked. The last call to quit addiction isfifty - then the chances of not getting sick at the age of 70, in ex-smokers and non-smokers, will even out (if something bad did not happen in the lung before).

Why are more and more women dying of lung cancer?

Such argumentation does not reach young people, however. Doctors emphasize that if you are well motivated, you can cure yourself of smoking.Women become addicted more easily and wean it harder.A man with lung cancer who smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day due to post-operative stress is able to stop smoking. Women are less likely to quit smoking. You often hear: "I'm just smoking" or "I'm not taking a puff." It's an illusion. Toxic smoke is drawn into the lungs with the air, as in the case of passive smoking.

There is a clear decline in male smokers, the number of female smokers remains at the same level. Effect? The incidence and mortality of men in younger age groups is decreasing, while among women in all age groups it is growing. A woman who smokes the same number of cigarettes as a man is at a higher risk of cancer than men.In Poland, the number one killer of women is lung cancer, not breast cancer, as is commonly believed.About 6,500 die every year from lung cancer. Polish women - three times more than in the 1970s and 1980s.


Smoking accelerates the aging of the lungs

At least around 10 percent of the population have noticeable symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that slowly destroys the lungs. It is associated not only with smoking (90% of the sick are smokers), but also with the natural aging process of the body. As wrinkles appear on the skin and hair turns gray, the lungs lose their elasticity, bubbles disappear, and their efficiency deteriorates. Only that in a person who cares about his he alth, the lungs age according to age, according to individual predispositions. After the age of 40, on average, lung capacity drops by 10%, after 60 - by 25%. Smoking cigarettes speeds up this process. If you do not smoke, avoid contaminated air, eat well, try to walk every day, run, cycle, swim, your lungs are ventilated better, they are more efficient and get sick less often.

Passive smoking is also good for you

Smoking is not the only factor in the development of lung cancer. Genetic predisposition is also important. When there were cases of cancer in the family, it can be assumed with a high probability that this predisposition is written in our genes. And if someone has a family risk of developing cancer, not necessarily the lungs, and is still exposed to the substances in the smokecarcinogenic, the risk of developing the disease increases.

There are people who have such a strong genetic code that nothing will move them. But there are very few such people.Only 10% of lung cancer patients did not smoke cigarettes.This does not mean that they had no contact with nicotine smoke at all. Until recently, everything was on fire with us. The cafes, offices, doctor's and teacher's rooms were thick with smoke. So it cannot be said that a non-smoker was not exposed to harmful tar. Smokers' families breathe smoke. Sometimes a small dose is enough to provoke the development of the disease. So if a patient who does not smoke goes back, it often turns out that his parents smoked, that he spent all days in a smoky office.

Lung cancer is a tough opponent

Every year about 15 thousand men and 6 thousand. women learns that they have lung cancer. The disease does not give any symptoms for a long time, which makes early diagnosis difficult. Therefore, out of 100 cases, only 16 are detected at an early stage, and 84 are detected too late, when radical therapy and cure are usually impossible. However, if the change is found early, there is a good chance of successful treatment (out of 16% of patients diagnosed with stage I disease, 80% are healed).

A dozen or so years ago, lung cancer most often attacked the main bronchial tree, so it could be detected by X-ray and diagnosed on the basis of bronchoscopy. Today, nodules often develop deep within the lung parenchyma. Thereforecurrently the best method of early detection of lung cancer is low-dose computed tomography .

But that's not the end of the problem. The detected change still needs to be investigated. How to get to the lump when it hides in the deep layers of the lung? To make a definitive diagnosis and determine the type of cancer you would have to open the chest, this is major surgery. A biopsy (needle aspiration) can be performed when the nodule is the right size, but then the disease is often already advanced. Usually, small nodules are observed with a CT scan every six months. As soon as they begin to enlarge, they are removed surgically and subjected to histopathological examination to determine the type of neoplasm and select the most effective treatment method.

As part of the National Program for Combating Cancer Diseases, screening tests for lung cancer with the use of low-dose tomography have been started. For now, they are conducted in areas with very low detection of this cancer. For 3,000 of the surveyed people (over 50, who smoked at least a packet of cigarettes a day for 20 years, suffering from COPD, with family history)30 percent disturbing changes in the lungs were found.

COPD takes its toll among women

The statistical patient with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is about 40 years old, but this age is decreasing. Once the problem concerned men, today half of the sick are women and this number is growing. Women who smoke the same amount of cigarettes as men get sick more often. This insidious disease consists in a gradual decrease in the number of alveoli involved in gas exchange. And we see a deterioration in efficiency only when half of the lungs are already destroyed. There is shortness of breath during exercise, morning cough and expectoration. Then there is increased shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, you hear your own wheezing. This is the result of a significant narrowing of the airways. The patient cannot push the air out of the lungs, but it is also difficult to draw in it.

If someone has symptoms of the disease, smoking is suicide for him - it accelerates the reduction of the respiratory surface of the lungs and worsens the work of the whole organism. COPD increases the risk of lung cancer. The signals are non-specific, so we rarely associate them with serious lung disease. We blame breathlessness on age. Coughing happens to everyone, so we underestimate it by using antitussive drugs, and this only lulls our vigilance and delays diagnosis. As a result, many people start treatment when the chance of recovery is negligible.

Meanwhile,when COPD is not yet advanced, it is enough to quit smoking, exercise regularly and eat well to inhibit its development.With advanced respiratory failure, oxygen support is necessary (the patient can only move with an oxygen concentrator). In Poland, it is almost impossible outside the hospital.

Tuberculosis still dangerous

This contagious disease seems to be forgotten. Meanwhile, each year in the world there are 8-10 million cases of disease, and about one million patients die. It is the worst in developing countries, which is related to poverty and the HIV virus spreading there. Based on the analyzes of the Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases in Warsaw, 8,616 cases were diagnosed in Poland in 2008. Each year, about 1,000 people die of tuberculosis. Some people are diagnosed with tuberculosis, although they have never been ill. This proves that the body has overcome the infection on its own (about 10% of those infected suffer from it).

Tuberculosis concerns not only poor communities. Young people are ill, who work intensively, live under great stress, eat sloppy, and use various stimulants in excess. A fall in immunity accompanying a serious illness is enough to become infected.Smoking is notthe direct cause of tuberculosis, but people with permanent lung inflammation caused by nicotine smoke are more susceptible to it.Mandatory vaccine given to newborns only protects against cerebral disease, but does not protect against pulmonary disease. Recently, more and more dangerous drug-resistant tuberculosis and more and more complications have been observed.

"Zdrowie" monthly

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