On the event of World No Tobacco Day, 31st May 2022, Healthcare Think Tank-Voice of Healthcare organized a virtual live event on the theme of ‘Adopting Strategies of Tobacco Cessation & Enhancing Cancer Awareness Through Thought Leaders’. The event was jointly hosted with AstraZeneca.
The event started with Dr. Mansi Sharma, Consultant, Thoracic Medical Oncology, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute, Rohini, Delhi, highlighting the ‘debilitating quality of life with smoking. Beyond cancer, the comorbidities people can avoid, simply by quitting smoking. She drew attention of the young viewers by emphasizing that, “Young people should be aware that smoking can lead to infertility issues in both males and females. It can lead to pregnancy issues, adverse fetal outcomes, premature deliveries, growth retardation, and can be a cause of sudden infant death syndrome”.
Dr. Vijay Agarwal, Lead & Sr. Consultant, Medical Oncology & Hematology, Aster CMI Hospital, Bengaluru, highlighted the common signs of lung cancer. He said, “Prevention is better than cure, so one should avoid smoking completely. If someone has certain symptoms suggestive of lung cancer, like cough, blood in sputum, shortness of breath or pains all over the body that do not go away after medication, they do need to get evaluated for lung cancer”.
Dr. Vashishth Maniar, Medical and Pediatric Hemato-Oncologist, Mumbai Oncocare Centre, explained how smoking affects cancer therapy. In his words, “Smoking leads to poorer patient outcomes. It is more pertinent for cancer patients to quit smoking for cancer therapy to work and to avoid any negative impacts on therapy outcomes”. The reason being that smoking causes symptom burden and greatly interferes with cancer therapy as compared to non-smokers.
The event followed a panel discussion, with eminent thought leaders in the space of healthcare. The purpose of this panel discussion was to raise general awareness regarding ‘Phased Cessation and Enhancing the Quality of Life Through Tobacco Elimination Strategy’. The panel discussion brought forth highly emergent need to eliminate all forms of tobacco. Dr. Aditya Murali, Consultant Medical Oncology, Haemato-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant, Aster DM Healthcare on this shared, “Any and all forms of tobacco, be it hookah, e-cigarettes, or chewable forms are for sure carcinogenic”. Dr. Kaushal Patel, Bharat Cancer Hospital & Research Institute, Surat, shared the graveness of tobacco addiction in his practicing state, by sharing that approximately 90% of the patients that get detected with lung cancer are smokers. He further added, “Approximately 90% of people addicted to tobacco can leave the habit with counselling and simple treatment options”. Dr. Sushma Agrawal, Professor, Department of Radiotherapy, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, shared “Quitting smoking is difficult. A person trying to quit smoking needs the support of their family. Some might need help of psychiatrist as well”.
Taking the conversation further onto non-smoking risk factors of lung cancer, air pollution was found to play the biggest role. Dr. Sushma Agrawal shared, “Other than smoking, pollution, asbestos environment, wood cooking furnace and people working in floor tiles industry are also at a very big risk for lung cancer”. Dr. Deepak Kopakka, Consultant Medical Oncology, Care Hospitals, Hyderabad, concluded by stating that “People who smoke a lot are inherently at a higher risk of cancer. If you observe any clinical sighs, please refer your pulmonologist at the earliest”.
*This press release is published by VOH team.*
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