Pulmonologist Dr. Seha Akduman stated that the number of newly diagnosed lung cancer cases is 5 times higher than last year's average. He claimed, “Especially smokers that we could not convince for tomography had to have tomography due to coronavirus. In this way, we were able to catch lung cancer at an early stage”.
The diagnosis of lung cancers have increased further with the coronavirus pandemic. CT scans that are done for control purposes enabled the physicians to detect the cancer at an early stage. Stating that the number of new cases are five times more than those of last year’s, Yeditepe University Hospital's Pulmonologist Dr. Seha Akduman said “Especially smokers that we could not convince for tomography had a tomography due to coronavirus. In this way, we were able to catch lung cancer at an early stage”.
One of the most important steps of detecting coronavirus at an early stage is Computerized Tomography (CT). Enabling the physicians to detect the pulmonary involvement of the virus, this method also provided the opportunity to detect lung cancer early. Stating that the number of new cases of lung cancer is about 5 times more than those of the last year acording to the data from the Ministry of Health, Member of the Department of Chest Diseases of Yeditepe University’s Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Seha Akduman provided critical information.
Pointing out that lung cancer is the cancer type that causes the most loss of life for both sexes in the world and in Turkey, Dr. Seha Akduman said, “Turkey is among the top 10 countries where lung cancer is most common in the world. Lung cancer is seen due to both increasing age and smoking as well as uncontrolled air pollution. Lung cancer diagnosis rate increased with coronavirus. Control tomographs taken due to coronavirus increased the rates of newly diagnosed lung cancer. Since the number of chest and lung tomographies, which we call thoracic tomography, is much higher than normal, according to the Ministry of Health data, the number of early stage and newly diagnosed lung cancers is 5 times higher than the average of last year. The numbers are similar all over the world. The number of newly diagnosed lung cancer has exceeded the usual high in these periods compared to the previous years".
Explaining that with the use of tomography more because of diagnosis, the chance of catching the early stage of the disease increases, Dr. Akduman said, “The smoking rate in our country is around 45 percent. Smoking is the most important risk factor for lung cancer. The fact that smokers, who could not be persuaded to have tomography before, had to have tomography due to coronavirus, created the opportunity to catch lung cancer at an early stage. This situation also increased the chance of treatment”.
Drawing attention to the prevalence of lung cancer in both genders in recent years, Dr. Akduman said, “In previous years, we used to see lung cancer in men. We now see it very commonly in both sexes. Unfortunately, the disease is observed at quite an advanced period. We catch two-thirds of the patients with lung cancer in the non-operable period. We try to treat it with chemotherapy or radiotherapy. However, in fact, the most basic and desired treatment method in lung cancer is early diagnosis and surgery”.
Stating that quitting smoking is important but does not nullify the risk, Dr. Akduman made the following warnings:
“If you smoke a pack a day for 20 years, your lung cancer risk is always with you. Although it decreases over the years after quitting smoking, the risk still continues compared to the non-smoker population. We definitely recommend screening test with low-dose lung tomography for our patients over the age of 50 with a history of smoking for 30-35 years, but chest radiography is insufficient in the risky group. It must be a minimum of 1 centimeter for us to see a lesion here. We can detect the lesion that we missed on chest radiography by following the nodule in tomography. However, it is necessary not to say 'I smoked so I already took the risk'. The longer the smoking period is, the more the risk increases exponentially. Whenever you quit, then you start to have a chance ".
Pointing out that bloody sputum seen in smokers is a sign of cancer that should be taken seriously, Pulmonologist Dr. Seha Akduman said, “Besides, hoarseness is very critical in both thyroid and lung cancer. Back pain is risky if there is pleural or nerve cell involvement. Persistent cough that does not go away, as well as frequent pneumonia should be taken seriously. For example, if a patient's frequent pneumonia is on the same side and is constantly resistant, there may be an obstructive tumor in the trachea. We can visualize bloody sputum and persistent cough with bronchoscopy. It is important to view the inside of the trachea with a camera ”.
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