Lung cancer: How to avoid Thailand’s leading killer
Lung cancer is the leading cause of death among Thai women and the second-leading cause among Thai men, according to the Department of Medical Services.
Department chief Dr Somsak Akksilp said that lung cancer is difficult to detect in the first stages and has a high fatality rate.
He revealed that the three main risk factors for lung cancer are:
- Smoking cigarettes and other forms of tobacco is the main cause of lung cancer. Smokers are 10 times more likely to get lung cancer than non-smokers. Non-smokers who inhale tobacco smoke are also at risk as there are more than 60 carcinogens in cigarette smoke.
- Inhaling asbestos: Asbestos is used in industries such as construction, auto-manufacturing (brake pads), and insulation. Those at risk are residents or workers in areas contaminated with asbestos. It can take 15 to 35 years to develop lung cancer if you are exposed to asbestos. Non-smokers who work with asbestos dust for a long time are five times more likely to suffer from lung cancer than the general population.
- Other reasons: Pollutants such as PM 2.5, benzene and formaldehyde.
However, Somsak notes that most lung cancer patients have no history of smoking or exposure to asbestos. Currently, there is no efficient and cheap way of screening for lung cancer. By the time people get symptoms, the disease is likely to have advanced to later stages.
Therefore, the best advice is to avoid the risk factors for lung cancer.