Lung cancer accounts for more than one-quarter of all cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. It is the cause of more deaths than breast, prostate and colorectal cancers combined. While you cannot completely eliminate your risk for lung cancer, there are steps you can take to prevent lung cancer. In recognition of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, November, take time to learn about lung cancer prevention.
Lung Cancer Prevention & Smoking
It is clearly known that smoking drastically increases your risk for developing lung cancer. Around 90 percent of lung cancer cases in men and 80 percent of lung cancer cases in women are caused by smoking, according to the National Cancer Institute. Smokers are around 20 times more likely to develop lung cancer than non-smokers.
Not smoking is the best possible way to prevent lung cancer. If you are a smoker, lung cancer prevention begins with quitting. The risk for getting lung cancer is additionally increased in heavy smokers and longtime smokers. If you quit smoking, your risk for developing lung cancer will decrease 30 to 50 percent in 10 years.
Exposure to secondhand smoke also increases risk for lung cancer. Risk for developing lung cancer increases by 20 to 30 percent in nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes or workplaces. More than 7,300 lung cancer deaths per year are thought to be attributed to secondhand smoke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Lung Cancer Prevention & Other Risk Factors
In addition to smoking, there are other factors that can increase your risk for lung cancer. Family history of lung cancer is one risk factor. If you have a close relative that has been diagnosed with lung cancer, your risk is increased.
Patients that are positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are at higher risk for lung cancer. They are around twice as likely to develop lung cancer. Because smoking rates are higher among individuals infected with HIV, it is not clear how much HIV infection increases risk.
Environmental risk factors influence a person chances for developing lung cancer. Workplace exposure, , to asbestos, arsenic and other substances are at higher risk for lung cancer. Exposure to radon, a radioactive gas, also increases risk. Thirty percent of lung cancers have been linked to exposure to radon.
If you are at risk for lung cancer, take steps, such as quitting smoking, to prevent lung cancer. If you have questions, please contact us.