The Commission for Air Quality Management has asked New Delhi and NCR states to implement all emergency measures as a thick toxic haze continues to blanket these areas on the sixth consecutive day with the worst air quality recorded on November 3 while pollution levels remained in the ‘severe plus’ category on Sunday morning too where the overall average AQI of 410 was recorded. The state government announced ‘work from home’ policy for 50% of government staff till next orders and asked Delhi-NCR states to implement the final stage of GRAP-4 on Sunday amid the worsening air quality ahead of Diwali as there are expectations of a further deterioration.
According to health experts, this deteriorating air quality and prolonged exposure to air pollution can damage your lungs, make you develop asthma and upper respiratory allergies along with increase the risk of lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases and neurological disorders. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Sucharita, Medical Officer at CHC Healthwatch, shared, “We believe in the power of proactive lifestyle changes to safeguard your lung health. Reducing the risk of lung cancer begins with the conscious decision to quit smoking – the single most impactful step you can take. By prioritising clean air, both indoors and outdoors, you create a nurturing environment for your lungs. Adequate ventilation at home and work is essential, as is filtering out pollutants and harmful particles.”
She advised, “Elevate your well-being through a balanced diet, rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that bolster your lung’s natural defences. Regular physical activity not only enhances your overall health but also fosters strong lungs. To further fortify your lung health, take control of your surroundings, minimising exposure to carcinogens and toxins. Equally critical is routine health check-ups and screenings, allowing for early detection and intervention. Your lung health is an investment in a brighter, healthier future. Begin today, embracing gradual yet meaningful lifestyle changes and pave the way for a lifetime of easier breathing and well-being.”
Highlighting the fact that lung cancer has the 3rd highest cancer mortality rates for males and 4th for females in India, Dr Vinodh Kumar S, MBBS, MD (Internal Medicine), Consultant Physician and Diabetologist, suggested, “Small changes can often make a huge impact, this statement holds great relevance while managing life on a daily basis alongside battling lung cancer. While endless medicines, chemos and scans are inevitable once the cancer is detected, certain minutely seeming actions on our part can help reduce the risk of lung cancer.”
He cautioned, “Marketed as great sources of protein and nutrients, consumable supplements are something to be wary of. Regular utilisation of such supplements is detrimental and increases the risk of lung cancer. The association between lung cancer and exposure to the sun is an often neglected fact. Reducing exposure to sunburns reduces the long-term risk of lung cancer. Simple summons from our mothers from a young age like avoiding the midday sun, applying adequate sunscreen while stepping outdoors in the sunlight or steering clear of tanning beds and sun lamps, go a long way. Exercising at least 3 hours a week is mandatory for providing a basic shield from lung cancer, in addition to possessing other health benefits widely known. We can include a mix of aerobic exercises like Zumba, jogging, dancing, etc. to ensure we cover the adequate amount of physical activity recommended by oncologists.”
Bringing her expertise to the same, Dr Tejinder Singh, Consultant Medical Oncologist at Apollo Cancer Center in Navi Mumbai, siad, “The best way to reduce your risk of lung cancer is to never smoke or to quit smoking if you do. Even if you’ve smoked for many years, quitting can still lower your risk. Secondhand smoke is just as harmful as smoking, so it’s important to avoid it as much as possible. If you live with a smoker, ask them to quit or smoke outside. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help protect your cells from damage that can lead to cancer. Exercise helps to keep your body healthy and may also help to lower your risk of lung cancer. If you work with chemicals or other substances that are known to cause cancer, take steps to protect yourself from exposure. By making these lifestyle changes, you can help to reduce your risk of lung cancer.”