Lung cancer is responsible for the most cancer deaths in both men and women throughout the world. Lung cancer can arise in any part of the lung, but nearly 90% of it is thought to arise from the epithelial cells lining the airways; and for this reason, lung cancer is sometimes called Bronchogenic carcinoma. Cancer arising from the plura is called Mesothelioma. An age over 65, active or passive smoking, exposure to asbestos fibers and radon gas, lung diseases, air pollution and a family history of lung cancer, are risk factors for this condition. Lung cancer can be divided into small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). NSCLC is further divided into Adenocarcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma and Large cell carcinoma. Common symptoms include persistent cough, blood in the sputum, repeated respiratory infections, chest pain, unexplained weight loss, fatigue and breathlessness. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the standard line of treatment for lung cancer.
Ayurvedic medicines can be given as additional therapy to the standard line of treatment for lung cancer. The aim of treatment is to control the lung cancer, prevent or reduce its spread to other parts of the body and improve overall survival. Medicines which act specifically on the lung tissue are used for this condition. These include Ras-Sindur, Sameer-Pannag-Ras, Nag-Guti, Chaturbhuj-Ras, Hema-Garbha-Ras, Laxmi-Vilas-Ras, Karpuradi-Churna, Kantakari-Avleha, Bhallatak-Asav, Vasavaleha, Sitopaladi-Churna, Talisadi-Churna, Pippalyadi-Ghrut and Drakshasav. Herbal medicines useful in this condition are: Kantakari (Solanum xanthocarpum), Bhruhat-Kantakari (Solanum indicum), Vasa (Adhatoda vasaka), Yashtimadhuk (Glycerrhiza glabra), Pippali (Piper longum), Behada (Terminalia bellerica), Bharangee (Clerodendron serratum), Kushtha (Saussurea lappa), Dhatura (Dhatura fastuosa) and Pushkarmool (Inula racemosa). The medicines Kanchnaar-Guggulu and Maha-Manjisthadi-Qadha are used in very high doses to prevent spread of the tumor locally or to other parts of the body.
Medicines like Suvarna-Malini-Vasant, Madhu-Malini-Vasant, Vasant-Kusumakar-Ras, Suvarna-Sameerpannag-Ras, Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Suvarna-Bhasma and Heerak- Bhasma are used to control the tumor and to improve the immune status of the body. Dashmooladi-Ghrut, Haritaki-Avaleha, Chyawanprash-Avaleha and Bhallatak-Asav are also used for this purpose.
Compared to other cancers, lung cancer has a very poor prognosis, in spite of the latest available modern treatment. The concurrent use of Ayurvedic medicines therefore, assumes more importance, to control the tumor, improve quality of life and improve the survival rate. All such patients should be under the regular care and supervision of an Oncology team.