Lung Cancer Risk Factors Reduced With These Habits
There’s a new study that shows eating dairy products, apples, veggies, drinking milk or wine and doing exercise had a clinically significant protective effect against lung cancer risk factors in women smokers, though not in nonsmokers. The work also found that drinking black tea protects against the disease in those women who don’t smoke, but had no benefit for those who did smoke.
The researchers interviewed 533 female lung cancer patients and compared them to 1,971 female control subjects who didn’t have cancer. The team was trying to understand the impact of diet and exercise on lung cancer risk.
Cancer of the lung is the most common form of cancer, and according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 106,374 men and 90,080 women were diagnosed in the U.S. during the year 2006, the latest statistics available.
Lung cancer death rates for U.S. women are some of the highest in the world. This form of cancer accounts for more deaths than colorectal, prostate and breast cancers combined, and as smoking is a major risk factor for the disease (90% of these cancers are the result of smoking) you can see why there are such virulent anti-smoking efforts, especially in the U.S.
Beyond smoking cigarettes, other risks for cancer of the lung include:
– Second hand smoke brings nonsmokers a 24% increased risk. An estimated 3,000 deaths each year are attributable to passive smoking.
– Asbestos fibers are silicate fibers that can stay in lung tissue for a lifetime after the exposure. Workplaces are the most common sites for exposure.
– Radon gas can travel up through soil and enter homes through gaps in the foundation, pipes, drains or other openings. The U.S. EPA estimates that one in every 15 homes in the U.S. has dangerous levels of radon. An estimated 12% of lung cancer deaths are attributable to radon gas.
According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, about one in every 14 men and women in this country will be diagnosed with cancer of the lung at some point in their lifetime. Almost 70% of those diagnosed with the disease are over 65 years old, while under 3% of lung cancers happen in those under 45 years old. This form of cancer was virtually unknown before the 1930s, but rose dramatically as smoking became more popular.
Earlier work has found that what we eat (or drink) may have an impact on the risk of cancer of the lungs. A study published in September 2010 in the European Journal of Cancer found an association between a high intake of fruits and veggies and a lower risk of developing this dangerous disease. Further, a 2009 study appearing in the journal Lung Cancer found that drinking a lot of green tea was tied to a lower risk, but no such benefit came from drinking black tea.
The team conducting the current study calls for more work on lung cancer risk factors. Clearly black tea, dairy and exercise affect lung cancer risk in different ways depending on the subjects’ smoking status.