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Lung cancer cases are on the rise in Hyderabad

by Shreya Singh 2 years ago in humanity
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Growth of Hyderabad as an IT hub brought many positives for the cultural city of Hyderabad. However, with the increasing population and increase in the number of vehicles on the road, booming up of industrial units, and an increase in the number of smokers has pushed up the number of lung cancer cases in the city.

Changing trends in lung cancer cases

According to a report by the World Health Organization, despite an overall decrease in the number of smokers in India, lung cancer cases show an increasing trend. The same report says that in the earlier times, people aged 50 and above were more vulnerable, but now the vulnerable age group has come down to just 30-40 years. A renowned oncologist from Hyderabad said that we could not correlate the number of smokers with the number of cases as tertiary smoking is equally harmful and around 50% of non-smokers who get lung cancer are less than 40 years of age, So, passive or tertiary smoking is a significant factor which has contributed to the rise in the lung cancer cases in the city. Dr V.V.R. Prasad, who works as a consultant pulmonologist at a hospital for cancer treatment in Hyderabad, said that they had seen a significant increment in the female cases and that is why the female to male ratio has been changing.

Rising pollution levels

According to a report by Telangana Today, twelve hundred new vehicles are added to the streets of Hyderabad every day. In 2013, the numbers of registered vehicles in the city was 33 lakhs, which leapfrogged to 53 lakhs in 2018. Which such substantial addition, a significant rise in the pollution levels was evident and hence the rise in the number of lung cancer patients.

A senior officer of the Central Pollution Control Board opined that recently the BS-VI norms had been rolled out and India will skip the BS V and is directly jump to the BS-VI from the existing BS-IV norms. There is no denial that vehicular pollution has devastating effects on public health, and only strict measures can prevent it.

He further added that he could show me more examples as the NCT of Delhi faces the worst pollution problem in the country and cities like Hyderabad are not too far from coming in the same category, so there’s a need to do something about it.

What is causing the spike in cases?

Notably, air pollution and cigarette smoking contribute almost equally to the lung cancer cases. The vehicle smoke comprises of pollutants like Sulfur dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen dioxide (NO2), Suspended particulates smaller than ten μm in aerodynamic diameter (PM10), Suspended particulates smaller than 2.5 μm in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5), Carbon monoxide (CO), and Ozone (O3).

On the other hand, there are almost 250 known chemicals in a cigarette, of which 69 contribute to causing lung cancer. Main cancer-causing chemicals are Acetaldehyde, Aromatic amines, Arsenic, Benzene, Beryllium (a toxic metal), 1,3–Butadiene (a hazardous gas), Cadmium (a toxic metal), Chromium (a metallic element), and others (the full list is available on the CDC website, which shows all the toxic chemicals under the show me more link.)

The curious case of Hyderabad

Though the rising cancer cases are not good news for the city, the early detection of the trend and active response by the medical and administrative authorities will surely help the cause. As of now, there are enough hospitals for cancer treatment in Hyderabad, but the situation can change very soon. The City of Pearls has many things that make it famous, and the general public must act responsibly to prevent their city from becoming the hunting grounds of lung cancer.


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Shreya Singh

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