Consultant Surgical Oncologist & HIPEC Specialist

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August 26, 2019

1) Don’t Smoke 

Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, responsible for 80 to 90 percent of lung cancers.

It is never too late to quit smoking. For those who have been diagnosed with lung cancer, smoking cessation may improve survival.

What many people do not realize is that chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis are independent risk factors for lung cancer. In other words, having COPD increases your risk for lung cancer whether or not you have smoked, and to a very significant degree. Considering that COPD is now the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States, this is of great concern.

Unfortunately, the risk of lung cancer does not go back to normal after a person quits, and lung cancer is now more common in former smokers than current smokers. If this makes you uncomfortable, keep in mind that a screening test for lung cancer is now available for people who once smoked but kicked the habit.

2) Check your Home for Radon

For non-smokers, checking your home for radon is the number one thing you can do for lung cancer prevention. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, and the second leading cause of lung cancer overall.

Radon is an odorless gas that results from the decay of natural uranium in the soil beneath our homes. Elevated levels of radon have been found in homes around the world. The only way to know if you are at risk is to test your home for radon.

There has been some concern about granite in countertops causing lung cancer. Though some granite countertops may emit dangerous levels of radon, this is not of much concern.

3) Eat a variety of Fruits and Vegetables

A diet rich in fruits in vegetables is linked with a lower risk of developing lung cancer. Recently, studies suggest that variety may be even more important than quantity. Make lung cancer prevention fun by trying out new foods. Try to choose a rainbow of colors, including dark greens such as spinach and broccoli, the whites of onions, the reds of apples and tomatoes, and the orange of orange juice and winter squash.

On a reverse note, inorganic phosphates found in processed meats and cheese are associated with an increased risk of lung cancer.

4) Asbestos Exposure

When microscopic asbestos fibers are inhaled or swallowed, they can become trapped in the body’s respiratory or digestive tract. The body can get rid of some asbestos fibers, but many fibers become stuck permanently.

No level of asbestos exposure is considered safe. However, most problems arise after years of repeated and long-term exposure to the carcinogen.

When asbestos fibers accumulate in human tissue through repeated exposure, they cause inflammation and DNA damage. Over time, this damage causes cellular changes that can lead to cancer and other diseases. Avoid asbestos exposure to prevent Cancer.

5) Air Pollution

Air pollution has been looked at as a possible risk factor for lung cancer because there is a significant difference between the incidence of lung cancer in urban and rural areas. Lung cancer is more prevalent in urban areas.

While it’s difficult to control your exposure to air pollution without moving, experts recommend monitoring the air pollution level in your region, and when high, limiting outdoor activities especially exercise.

Cooking Fuels, Industrial Chemicals, Fumes from Coal used for cooking and other fuels is an important cause of lung cancer in women who have never smoked globally. Good ventilation, and being aware of fuels that pose more threat than others, is important for those who are currently exposed.

Employers are required to provide Material Safety Data Sheets for all chemicals used. It’s important that people who may be exposed to these substances on the job review the sheets and heed any safety measures recommended.