How to Prevent Lung Cancer
If you have heard anything about preventing lung cancer, it is probably that you should stop smoking and avoid cigarette smoke.
Many preventative steps coincide with living healthy: eating healthy, getting exercise and managing stress.
However, there are other steps to consider.
What is Lung Cancer?
Lung cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the cells of your lungs. It is also known as pulmonary cancer.
It originates from cancerous cells that form the lining of the airways.
The four main types of lung cancer are small-cell lung carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, large-cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.
Small-cell lung cancer begins when cells in the lungs begin to grow rapidly.
Early detection and a treatment plan can significantly improve the chances of surviving the disease.
There are several steps that you can take to reduce your risk of developing lung cancer.
Can Quitting Smoking Reduce Your Risk of Lung Cancer?
People who smoke have a higher risk of getting lung cancer.
Smoking can cause Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, a lung disease that makes breathing difficult. It is usually caused by smoking or other forms of air pollutants and makes it harder for the lungs to get enough oxygen.
While quitting smoking may not necessarily prevent lung cancer. It can significantly reduce the risk of developing this disease.
Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of lung cancer by lowering your exposure to harmful carcinogens in cigarette smoke.
Quitting smoking can also help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the lungs.
Avoiding Secondhand Smoke
There are many steps to avoid secondhand smoke and reduce your risk of developing lung cancer. Some of these steps include:
- Avoiding tobacco
- Limiting exposure to those who smoke
- Staying in areas where smoking is not allowed
Exposure to secondhand smoke has been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer.
The chemicals in secondhand tobacco smoke can cause damage to the DNA in our cells, which leads to cancerous tumors.
Unfortunately, many people encounter regular exposure to secondhand smoke and do not realize the danger they are in.
Can Eating a Healthy Diet Reduce Your Risk?
Some certain nutrients and vitamins may help lower your risk of developing lung cancer, such as:
- Vitamin C and E
- Natural compounds found in vegetables
There is evidence that eating a healthy diet may help reduce your risk of developing lung cancer. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been shown to protect against several types of cancer, including lung cancer.
Colorful vegetables contain compounds called beta-carotene that your body converts into vitamins. They help prevent oxidative stress in the body.
Can Exercising Regularly Prevent Lung Cancer?
Some studies have suggested that staying physically active may lower the risk of developing this type of cancer.
Regular physical activity may help to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the lungs. Both of these are thought to play a role in the development of cancer.
Evidence suggests that physically active people have lower lung cancer rates than those who do not get enough exercise. This is due to reduced inflammation in the airways and increased immune function.
Get Regular Lung Cancer Screenings?
Regular screenings may help reduce your risk of developing this dangerous condition. There are several different screening options available for people who are at high risk for lung care, including:
- Chest X-rays
- CT scans
- Sputum cytology tests
Participating in regular screenings can help to detect lung cancer. Early detection helps treat cancer before it spreads.
Can Managing Stress Cause Lung Cancer?
Stress can increase your risk of developing cancer, especially lung cancer. Some factors that can contribute to this include smoking, infections, and genetics.
People who suffer from chronic stress may also be more susceptible to developing lung cancer. This is caused to changes in their immune systems.
Can Limiting Alcohol Consumption Help with Lung Cancer Prevention?
Alcohol consumption is a common risk factor for developing lung cancer. It is recommended that individuals reduce or avoid alcohol intake to prevent the development of this disease.
It is thought that alcohol may cause damage to DNA in cells within the lungs. This increases the risk of mutations that can lead to cancer.
Can Taking Supplements or Medications Reduce Your Risk?
Some research has suggested that certain supplements and medications may have protective effects against lung cancer in some individuals. These can come in the form of the following:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- ACE inhibitors
Check with your doctor about possible side effects before taking these supplements or medications.
Exposure to Radon Gas Can Cause Lung Cancer
Radon gas can cause lung cancer if inhaled in high concentrations over a long period.
Radon is a naturally occurring, odorless and colorless gas that can be found in homes, schools and other buildings. It comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks and enters buildings through cracks in the foundation or walls.
This type of exposure is particularly dangerous because the damage from radon occurs slowly over time, often without any noticeable symptoms.
It is important to be aware of potential sources of radon in your home. You can take steps to reduce your risk of exposure.
Some common sources of radon include:
- Poorly sealed cracks or openings in the foundation of a home
- Poorly ventilated crawl space
- Even certain types of stone or concrete
Can Hazardous Substances Cause Lung Cancer?
One major factor in the development of lung cancer is exposure to hazardous substances. These substances include cigarette smoke, asbestos, radon gas, and other environmental pollutants.
Exposure to these substances can increase inflammation and damage the lungs over time. This can lead to cancerous growth.
Can HIV Cause Lung Cancer?
HIV can increase the risk of lung cancer. The virus attacks the body’s immune system and weakens it over time. This makes it easier for other diseases to develop, including lung cancer.
To help reduce your risk of lung cancer if you have HIV:
- Eat a nutritious diet
- Get regular exercise
- Avoid smoking
Can Radiation in Your Chest Cause Lung Cancer?
Radiation is a known cause of lung cancer. Different types of radiation can come from a variety of sources, both natural and manmade. Some forms of radiation are more harmful than others. It’s important to know that exposure to any amount can potentially cause lung cancer or other cancers.
There is no “safe” level of radiation exposure. People who are at increased risk of developing lung cancer include those who have:
- Been exposed to high levels of radiation
- Those with a family history of lung cancer
Can Learning Your Family History Prevent Lung Cancer?
Learning your family history can help identify certain risk factors for lung cancer.
These risk factors can be learned so that you can avoid them and reduce your risk of lung cancer.
Family history may play a role in the development of lung cancer. Studies have shown that people with certain gene variants or other genetic markers are likely to develop this disease.
People have a higher risk of developing lung cancer if they have a family history of lung cancer.
Talk to Your Doctor
Your primary care physician, who understands your medical history, can help you find the best preventative plan. If you need a family doctor, you can search for a CHRISTUS Health provider near you.