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As Lung Cancer Awareness Month unfolds, it's crucial to focus on the alarming rise in cancer cases in India, which are projected to burgeon from 1.46 million in 2022 to 1.57 million by 2025. Amidst these rising numbers, lung cancer stands out, primarily divided into small-cell and non-small-cell types. The former is particularly aggressive, posing a significant health challenge. This month is not just about awareness but also marks a pivotal moment to underscore the importance of lung health and stress management in preventing respiratory issues. Therefore, Dr Samit Purohit, Associate Director, Medical & Haemato Oncology, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, shares it's essential to look into the impact of stress management on enhancing the quality of life for lung cancer patients and their partners.
Recent research has shed light on the effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in alleviating psychological distress. Alarmingly, about 58% of these patients suffer from elevated distress levels, negatively affecting their overall quality of life. MBSR interventions have demonstrated significant success, focusing on fostering an understanding, empathetic, and non-judgmental awareness of one's physical and emotional states. These practices not only provide relief during episodes of panic attacks but also contribute substantially to enhancing the overall mental well-being of patients, aiding them in navigating the complex emotional landscape associated with their condition.
Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are increasingly recognized as beneficial for lung cancer survivors and their partners. These interventions, which encompass breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga, target the self-management of challenging emotional and physical symptoms. The benefits of MBIs are manifold: They enhance coping mechanisms for managing the psychological impact of lung cancer.
Cognitive-behavioural stress management (CBSM) has emerged as a valuable therapeutic approach. This form of psychotherapy assists patients in understanding and managing stress, contributing to better mental health and quality of life. CBSM interventions are particularly effective in helping patients deal with anxiety, anger, and assertiveness. They include relaxation training techniques like deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and meditation, which are beneficial in managing surgical and cancer-related pain.
In India, the detrimental effects of air pollution on lung health and respiratory conditions are alarmingly pronounced. The Global Burden of Disease Study 2019 highlights that 39.5% of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) linked to air pollution are attributed to lower respiratory infections. Recent scientific findings further reveal how air pollution acts as a catalyst for lung cancer, with the impact being acute among children, especially in the smog-laden air of India's major cities. Lung cancer, heavily influenced by deteriorating air quality, has emerged as a leading cause of death. Thus, it is imperative to combat air pollution proactively to stem the gradual increase in lung cancer cases and safeguard public health.
The government should take proactive measures to control air pollution and raise awareness about lung cancer. Simultaneously, stress management interventions like MBSR, MBIs, and CBSM play a critical role in reducing psychological distress, improving the quality of life, and aiding patients and their partners in coping with lung cancer. Fostering lung wellness in India requires a comprehensive approach involving collective action from the public, health scientists, policymakers, and the industry. As lung specialists, advocating for implementing these interventions in our practices is paramount. This ensures our patients receive the necessary support to maintain their lung health. We stress lung health and encourage a multidimensional strategy for respiratory wellness.