Essay on Social Determinants of Health

Published: 2021/11/22
Number of words: 1616

Lung cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the human lungs and spreads throughout the body. It’s a cancerous lung tumor that causes uncontrolled cell growth in lung tissues. This tumor can expand beyond the lung by metastasizing into neighboring cells or other organs. It is the most prevalent cancer in the world that kills people. In several countries, lung cancer in females has become an alarming trend. More comprehensive diagnosis, treatment, and prevention approaches are still needed for both genders, especially since non-smokers’ inherent vulnerability to lung cancer will likely require a more inventive study approach. According to studies, female smokers seem to have a bigger risk of lung cancer than their male counterparts (Stapelfeld et al., 2019). However, additional factors must be investigated to explain the facts behind these inequalities in vulnerabilities and lung cancer results. By investigating unique factors through researches like worldO7, I hope to encourage specialized fields of research and impact local medical policies and procedures.

Smoking is considered the most significant and the most common lung cancer-causing habit. It accounts for about 80% of lung cancer fatalities, with the number likely to be significantly higher for SCLC (small cell lung cancer). Among the numerous identified substances, there are at least 73 recognized carcinogens in cigarette smoke, including benzopyrene. In 2000, smoking was responsible for 70% of lung cancer fatalities in women and 90% in men across the developed countries. The risk associated with smoking increases with the increase in the number of packs you smoke daily and the period one has been smoking.

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If you don’t smoke, inhaling other people’s smoke (environmental tobacco smoke, sometimes referred to as secondhand smoke or Passive smoke) can raise your risk of lung cancer. Passive smoking is considered the root of over 7,000 lung cancer deaths worldwide annually, with 3,400 deaths in the United States (CDC – Secondhand Smoke Facts; Smoking & Tobacco Use, 2019). Those who live with someone who smokes are at a 20–30% higher risk, while those who work in an atmosphere with secondhand smoke are at a 16–19% higher risk. According to studies, sidestream smoke is more harmful than direct smoke. The effects of passive smoking are estimated to be around. While there’s little doubt that smoking cannabis can harm your lungs, scientists aren’t convinced whether it causes lung cancer. Cannabis smoke, on the other hand, contains many of the same compounds as tobacco smoke, which is known to cause lung cancer.

The risk of lung cancer for a man in his lifetime is approximately 1 in 15; a woman’s lifetime risk is approximately 1 in 17 (Stapelfeld et al., 2019). Both smokers and non-smokers are included in these figures. The risk is substantially higher for smokers, while it is a lot lower for non-smokers. Female gender is a positive prognostic factor independent of histology and phase for lung cancer. In men with lung cancer, the relative likelihood of dying was 1,18, 1,20, and 1,15, in research carried out in Taiwan, the United States, and Poland, respectively. The average overall survival was two years for the Spanish women involved in the worldO7, while those with stage IV NSCLC had an average overall survival of 16.3 months. These survival statistics back with world07 research and other research findings that women had a survival edge (Harichand-Herdt & Ramalingam, 2009)

In the worldO7 investigation. 859 (41.7%) of the patients had finished basic schooling, linked to an elevated risk of this cancer in previous research. In research conducted in the U.S., women with a low school level (1-10 years) had a greater mortality risk than those with a college or high school education. Furthermore, between 1986-94 and 2003-06, the mortality rate for women with an elementary education rose, whereas it reduced for women with higher education (Montez & Zajacova, 2013). Social classes have also influenced the causes and treatments of cancer. According to research, those in higher social levels had a better chance of surviving lung cancer. Many factors are known to have a role in the social class disparities in the survival rate of cancer patients. Social class expertise in dealing and delays in diagnosis and treatment are the key causes. The greater mortality rate among individuals with low educational levels can be explained by delayed diagnosis and a lack of understanding about how to deal with the disease. In contrast, higher educational levels have access to better medical facilities and a wider range of treatment options.

According to the study, over 43% of lung cancer patients had a cancer family history, with close relatives accounting for slightly more than half of the cases. Despite the lack of substantial differences between SCLC and NSCLC patients, our findings suggest that patients who never had a cancer family history had similar characteristics. Patients without a lung cancer family history were more likely than current smokers to be non-smokers. Those with a lung cancer family history, on the other hand, had a smaller proportion of never smokers than current smokers (Garrido et al., 2018). Patients who never had a history had a poorer median Overall Survival (OS) than those who did. Patients with NSCLC who had a lung cancer family history had a better prognosis than those who did not, according to Li et al., but only when the disease was in its early stages. There was no distinction between individuals who had a cancer family history and those who did not. Patients with a lung cancer family history, on the other hand, had lower median survival than those without a family history, according to (Ganti, Loberiza, & Kessinger). It’s unclear why patients in the world07 group with a cancer family history had a longer OS. There isn’t enough evidence in the research done to make conclusions.

Lung cancer has for a long time been related to diesel exhaust, silica, and asbestos. Asbestos exposure was common in the shipbuilding and construction industries in the 1960s. Silica is a material used in the manufacture of glass that is toxic to people since it causes silicosis. A person with this illness has a very high risk of acquiring lung cancer, and smokers are at an even higher risk than non-smokers. Air pollution has also been related to lung cancer. It is, however, dependent on the quantity of air pollution to which one is exposed.

After smoking, radon gas is the second common lung cancer cause. Lung cancer is more common among smokers who are exposed to this gas. It is a radioactive gas produced naturally by uranium deposits found in all soils and rocks. People who reside in areas where this gas is present should quit smoking since the chances of this cancer are particularly high. Lung cancer is also increased by asbestos exposure. People who work with asbestos in textile facilities, mills, mines, areas where insulation is utilized, and shipyards are more likely to develop lung cancer. Lung cancer is far more likely in workers who smoke and are exposed to asbestos. The amount of short-term or low-level asbestos contact that raises lung cancer risk is unknown. People exposed to a lot of asbestos are more likely to develop mesothelioma, cancer that crops in the pleura, which is the layer that surrounds the lungs.

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Food and diet is also another risk factor. Just like many other factors, certain foods are known to increase the chances of lung cancer. Scientists are looking to see whether they change the risk of developing lung cancer through many different foodstuffs and dietary supplements. We still have a lot to know. However, we are aware that there is a higher risk of cancer in smokers who are take supplements containing beta carotene. (CDC – Secondhand Smoke Facts; Smoking & Tobacco Use, 2019).

Cancer does not always respond well to treatment. When treatment fails, the disease is referred to as terminal or advanced cancer. Although it is not always possible to prevent oneself from developing lung cancer, preventative measures can help reduce the likelihood and risk of developing the condition. Avoid smoking, which is the leading cause of lung cancer; avoid being around individuals who smoke, as secondhand smoke increases your risk of lung cancer; and finally, avoid known chemicals that raise your risk of lung cancer, such as radon gases.


CDC – Secondhand Smoke Facts; Smoking & Tobacco Use. (2019). Smoking and Tobacco Use.

Ganti, A. K., Loberiza, F. R., & Kessinger, A. (2009). Association of positive family history with survival of patients with lung cancer. Lung Cancer63(1), 136–139.

Garrido, P., Viñolas, N., Isla, D., Provencio, M., Majem, M., Artal, A., Carcereny, E., Garcia Campelo, R., Lianes, P., De La Peñas, R., & Felip, E. (2018). Lung cancer in Spanish women: The WORLD07 project. European Journal of Cancer Care28(1), e12941.

Harichand-Herdt, S., & Ramalingam, S. S. (2009). Gender-Associated Differences in Lung Cancer: Clinical Characteristics and Treatment Outcomes in Women. Seminars in Oncology36(6), 572–580.

Li, N., Shao, K., Chen, Z., Qiu, B., Wang, Z., Tan, F., Wang, J., Tan, X., Li, B., Xiong, M., Zhou, F., & He, J. (2010). The impact of positive cancer family history on the clinical features and outcome of patients with non-small cell lung cancer. Familial Cancer10(2), 331–336.

Montez, J. K., & Zajacova, A. (2013). Explaining the Widening Education Gap in Mortality among U.S. White Women. Journal of Health and Social Behavior54(2), 166–182.

Stapelfeld, C., Dammann, C., & Maser, E. (2019). Sex‐specificity in lung cancer risk. International Journal of Cancer146(9), 2376–2382.

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