Can Lung Cancer Be Prevented?
Lung cancer is the most fatal form of cancer in the US, and other developed countries, today. And the fact is, that most of the cancer treatments that work well on other forms of cancer often don’t work well on lung cancer. Add to that the fact that lung cancer is often not diagnosed until it is far advanced, and it’s easy to understand why this disease is so often fatal.
So, preventing lung cancer is even more important than preventing many other types of cancer simply because the prognosis is often so poor. And, for most victims of this disease, it is entirely preventable – simply by not smoking. Eight out of ten people diagnosed with lung cancer each year are smokers.
Six out of ten people who are diagnosed with lung cancer will die within one year. Between seven and eight will die within two years. Treatments are improving, and today there are some long term lung cancer survivors. But, as we focus on better treatments, we cannot lose focus on prevention.
Of course the simplest way to prevent lung cancer is not to smoke. But, there are some other things you can do to help reduce your risk of lung cancer, whether or not you smoke.
The first is to eat a healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables. Some studies have shown that people who eat a diet lacking in fruits and vegetables have a higher risk of lung cancer than those whose diet offers a wide variety of such foods.
In addition to not smoking, it’s important to stay away from others who smoke. Secondhand smoke is just as dangerous as smoking yourself. The American Cancer Society reports that non-smoking spouses of smokers are 30% more likely to get lung cancer than spouses of non-smokers. In addition, exposure to asbestos, arsenic and radon increase your risk of lung cancer.
Add Green Tea to Your Diet
Another little known trick for helping protect your body from many types of disease, including many forms of cancer, is drinking green tea. Green tea has been shown in many studies to be effective at protecting health and preventing disease. This is because green tea is filled with anti-oxidants – some of the most powerful available.
Anti-oxidants are very effective at combating free radicals that are created in our bodies as we process food. The free radicals produced by our bodies damage our cells and our DNA, and eventually lead to disease if we don’t combat them. Anti-oxidants, however, combat these free radicals before they can cause damage. If we’re getting our fair share of anti-oxidants each day, we’re keeping these free radicals under control.
Above I mentioned that scientists believe that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps prevent lung cancer. This is also likely due to the fact that fresh fruits and vegetables are good anti-oxidant sources. Some vegetables and fruits are better than others, so for optimum benefit, be sure to include some of the most powerful in your diet on a regular basis.
The best food sources of anti-oxidants include:
o Red Beans
o Dark Chocolate
And, green tea. One of the most important anti-oxidants is EGCG, which is found in abundance in the Camilla sinensis (tea tree) plant. Green tea is the best form of this anti-oxidant because it’s not fermented during processing. Black tea is fermented, which changes some of its anti-oxidant compounds. Black tea is still healthy, but your best anti-oxidant source is green tea.
One study recently reported by the UK Tea Council shines light on green tea’s ability to prevent lung cancer. In particular, this study showed that green tea appears to have two major functions that prevent cancer.
Green tea appears to cause apoptosis of abnormal cells. Apoptosis is the orderly process of cell death. Cell death due to apoptosis is good, because it is a process of killing off damaged or unneeded cells. Green tea seems to help the body rid itself of potentially harmful cells by inducing the process of apoptosis.
Green tea also seems to help prevent lung cancer by inhibiting the growth of the abnormal lung cells. So, green tea keeps the cells from growing and spreading until the apoptosis can kills the cells off. These two powers help to rid the body of abnormal cells before they can replicate and cause a problem.
Of course, more research is needed to pinpoint exactly how green tea works, and how we can use it best to prevent lung cancer and many other diseases. However, in the mean time, there’s no reason not to make green tea part of your daily life.
Green tea is an absolutely safe beverage to consume. It has no side effects, and even those who are caffeine sensitive can usually tolerate green tea quite well, because its caffeine content is very low compared to coffee and sodas. So, do something good for yourself – drink some green tea!