About Lung Cancer


Why one person gets cancer and another doesn’t? Your health care practitioner cannot always explain the reason to this question. What researchers show are that there are similarities and patterns of cancer in the population to learn what things around us and what things we do that may increase the chance of developing cancer. Risk factors are anything that increases a person’s chance of developing a disease. Some risk factors can be avoided but others cannot. For example, you can quit smoking by you cannot choose or change the genes that you inherited from your family. Smoking and inheriting genes are both risk factors for developing certain types of cancer but only smoking can be avoided. Cancer prevention means avoiding the risk factors.

In the United States, it is estimated that more than 85% of lung cancer deaths could be prevented through action and awareness. Here are some of the risk factors that can be changed and avoided:

  • Tobacco: Smoking tobacco products of any form is the major cause of lung cancer. Quitting smoking at any time reduces your risk in developing cancer.
  • Second hand smoke: If you live with a smoker, you have two to three times the risk of lung cancer compared to those who live in a non-smoking environment.
  • Environmental causes: Cancer causing agents may be found indoors especially in the workplace. They are asbestos, radon, arsenic, chromium, nickel, tar and soot.
  • Certain occupations, such as mining and farming, exposure to fumes, or radioactive dust may also be harmful. Taking precautions to reduce exposure to thoes substances can reduce the risk of developing cancer.
  • Beta Carotene: Studies show that heavy smokers who avoid taking beta carotene supplements may avoid further increasing the risk of lung cancer development.
  • Diet and physical activity: Studies show that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables may decrease risk of lung cancer.
  • Heavy alcohol drinking may increase risk of lung cancer.
  • Physically active individuals may have a lower risk of lung cancer.

Although many risk factors can be avoided, it is important to know that it does not guarantee that you will not get cancer. Please talk to your health care provider about methods of preventing cancer that might be effective for you.

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