Lung cancer mostly diagnosed late

Cases of chronic lung disease and lung cancer are rapidly rising in India, remaining mostly undiagnosed until it is too late, experts say.

As Thursday marked World Lung Cancer Day, doctors say changing lifestyles, smoking and air pollution have alarmingly raised the number of lung problems.

`There is a huge increase in the number of lung cancer and other lung diseases cases,` Harit Chaturvedi, chief consultant and director (Surgical Oncology) at Max hospital here said.

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`Usually the peak age when lung cancer attacks is the 50s and 60s,` he said, adding that cancer cases are seen in Indian patients a decade earlier than their western counterparts `for unknown reasons`.

Along with cancer, rising equally rapidly are cases of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease that causes acute breathing problems, also related to smoking in most cases.

`Currently, India has close to 24 million COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) cases which are expected to increase by 34 percent to 32 million by 2020,` said Vivek Nangia, additional director and head, pulmonology, Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj.

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