Do Non-Smokers Get Lung Cancer?

Nothing equals the sensation of breathing deeply and feeling how the air invades our lungs and gives us a feeling of general well-being.

The Woman Post | Maria Claudia Londoño

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Detecting any condition promptly and knowing more about the diseases that can affect our lungs, particularly cancer, can allow us to prevent and avoid it.

November was determined as the month of the fight against lung cancer, which is the fourth most frequent type of cancer and the first cause of death related to cancer in the Americas, with about 262,000 deaths each year, which represents a latent need to provide information so that the population can take precautions and timely decisions and thus minimize these figures.

This is how at The Woman Post we want to publicize the "Act Today" campaign, promoted by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca in Latin America, organizing a hybrid event about this campaign that has the participation of 19 patient associations from 10 countries: Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Panama in an attempt to visualize the steps to be followed in the region to act against the lethality of lung cancer, a condition that currently claims the lives of 86,000 people every year in Latin America, because the detection is carried out in already advanced stages, which has repercussions in a fatal outcome for patients.

We take the statements of Larisa Ramírez, Medical Director of AstraZeneca Latin America, that smoking is the main risk factor, with a prevalence of 16.3%, along with environmental, occupational, socioeconomic, and genetic factors. However, there are other incident factors such as exposure to known carcinogens (chemicals, polluting gases) and contamination from smoke from the wood used to cook in some of these countries, which are also relevant risk factors.

Similarly, Dr. Ramírez released some results of a survey according to which "76% of the Latin American population does not recognize this type of cancer as a severe disease." And additionally, the following aspects are mentioned:

• 9 out of 10 people do not consider pollution and smoking as risk factors

• 4 out of 10 people do not associate smoking with lung cancer, even though 80% of lung cancer patients have a history of smoking.

• A quarter of lung cancer patients have never smoked.

This last fact leads us to consider the risks of passive smoking. That is those people who do not smoke but live with someone who is a smoker or stay in environments with cigarette smoke. In this regard, a study by the WHO (World Health Organization) states that cigarette smoke contains approximately 4000 chemicals, of which 250 are harmful to health and more than 50 could cause cancer, among which we can mention Nitrosamines, Tar, Benzopyrenes, Naphthalene, Aminobiphenyl, Arsenic, Cadmium, Vinyl Chloride, and Chromium.

Additionally, it is possible that from cigarette smoke, other pathologies develop, such as non-tumor respiratory problems or benign tumors, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, insomnia, alteration of sleep schedules, retinal degeneration, generating a possible loss of sight, increased risk of diabetes, increases bad cholesterol, which implies its accumulation in the walls of the arteries and the risk of suffering from ear infections.

For all this, raising awareness about how health is affected by smokers and their partners, families, and co-workers and how to prevent can represent benefits for us, our relatives, and our communities.

For more information about the campaign in question, you can enter the website: www.actuahoy.com

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