Epidemiologist at the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Dr Maung Aung, says smoking and poor diet heighten the risk of persons contracting lung and stomach cancers.
Lung cancer results from tissue formation in the organ, usually in the cells lining the air passages.
The symptoms include persistent coughing, and the emission of blood or rust-coloured phlegm when this occurs; and chest pain that often worsens with deep breathing, coughing, or laughter.
Dr Aung, who was addressing the Mistyblue Cancer Care Foundation Teleconference on Wednesday, November 11, said other factors that can contribute to lung cancer include: poorly ventilated environments; exposure to asbestos; and exposure to silica dust, which is generated during mining, among other engagements
He further pointed out that persons with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease are also at risk.
Stomach or gastric cancer results from a buildup of abnormal cells that form a mass in any part of the organ.
The symptoms usually include: poor appetite; weight loss; vague discomfort in the abdomen; vomiting, with or without blood; swelling or fluid build-up in the abdomen; blood in the stool; and nausea.
Persons at risk of contracting stomach cancer include: smokers; individuals whose diets are high in salty and smoked foods, and low in fruit and vegetable consumption; and those who have a family history of gastric cancer.
Other persons also at risk are individuals who have stomach infection caused by a bacteria called helicobacter pylori; persons who have stomach polyps; and those suffering from pernicious anaemia (vitamin B12 deficiency).
Dr Aung noted that men are considered to be at a higher risk of contracting the illness, compared to women.
“For both genders, [the disease] usually occurs in the 70s age range. The age range can [however] start as early as the 30s [through to the 80s], with the most common age group globally being in the 60s,” he outlined.
The teleconference was held in observance of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, which is being observed in November.
The Westmoreland -based Foundation is spearheading several teleconferences to highlight cancer statistics and trends.