Not every type of lung cancer is preventable. But you do control many risk factors for lung cancer. Eliminating these risk factors as possible reduces your chances of a lung cancer diagnosis.
Smoking is the biggest risk factor for lung cancer. You should also avoid second-hand smoke, smoke breathed in from other people’s tobacco use.
Smoking in your past does not necessarily mean you experience higher risk for lung cancer than non-smokers. Stopping smoking before you have lung cancer enables your lung tissue to repair itself. This means anyone without any lung cancer potentially gains a “clean slate” for lung cancer risk by smoking, by quitting tobacco use.
But your own tobacco smoke is not your only risk factor toward lung cancer. Breathing in other peoples’ smoke from their tobacco use increases your risk for the disease. This is why it is important to stay away from second-hand smoke.
Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless and tasteless radioactive gas put off by decaying elements in soil, groundwater and air. Many homes in the United States include ongoing exposure to radon, yet the homeowners do not know of their risk. This is why having your home tested for radon is very important. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in America today, causing about 20,000 deaths per year from the disease.
In your workplace or other parts of your daily life, avoid known cancer-causing chemicals. If you work around these chemicals, avoid exposure and take proper precautions for self-protection. One such known carcinogen in lung cancer is asbestos. Pesticides, building materials, solvents, batteries, cosmetics and plastics are among the most common culprits containing carcinogens.
Other cancer-causing chemicals include:
There are more than 80,000 chemicals on the American consumer market today. So it is next to impossible to avoid all of these carcinogens. The best recommendation is to avoid products containing these cancer-causing chemicals whenever possible, or use them responsibly. An example of responsible use is not microwaving plastic food containers, as the plastics’ chemicals leech into foods during the heating process.
Eating healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables and properly cooked meats help reduce your risk of lung cancer. High fruit and vegetable diets provide great benefit in health and cancer prevention. Avoiding overcooking of meats also helps, particularly overcooked grilled or barbecued meats.
For some people leading healthy lives, a lung cancer diagnosis seems to hit them without reason or cause. Many people with lung cancer had no clear risk factors. Not all lung cancers are preventable, based on today’s knowledge.