Lung Cancer Prevention – What You Can Do
It is estimated that the overall five-year survival rate from lung cancer is just 15%. Given this depressing statistic, it is obvious that lung cancer prevention should be of primary importance in dealing with this killer disease.
So what can you do to prevent lung cancer? Here are a few things you should guard against this disease.
* Avoid smoking / give up smoking
* Minimize your exposure to second hand tobacco smoke
* Eliminate exposure to radon, asbestos and other dangerous substances
* Cut down exposure to pollution
* Take steps to avoid falling prey to diseases like tuberculosis
Let’s look at some of the above in more detail.
Smoking — the big enemy
Smoking (and exposure to second hand tobacco smoke) is the number one cause of lung cancer by far. Those who have never smoked in their lives have a significantly lower risk of developing lung cancer than those who have smoked for at least some time. Also, the risk of contracting lung cancer goes down with time once you quit smoking.
Some research points out that the so-called low nicotine / low tar cigarettes do not really cut down the chances of getting lung cancer.
This goes contrary to all the advertising done by tobacco companies who are eager to push these “light” cigarettes on people as a “healthier” alternative to regular cigarettes.
Make no mistake about it — the best path to lung cancer prevention is to give up smoking completely. Even better, avoid taking up this deadly habit in the first place. Your lungs, your body and your family will thank you for it.
Exposure to second-hand smoke is bad too
Second hand smoke is formally known as Environmental Tobacco Smoke or ETS. People who inhale second hand smoke are called passive smokers. And here is the shocker — passive smoking can be even more dangerous than smoking a cigarette!
Why is this so? The reason is that tobacco smoke enters the lungs of passive smokers without any filtering at all. This makes it much more likely that passive smokers will develop lung cancer — a bigger payload of dangerous carcinogens enters their lungs.
Many countries including America, Australia, the UK and others have sought to curb the menace of second hand smoke by banning smoking in public places like restaurants, buses, trains, aircraft, etc. More and more countries around the world are taking similar steps. It is expected that these restrictions will gradually bring down the incidence of lung cancer (and many other health issues) from passive smoking.
Pollution can increase risks of cancer
Pollutants like automobile exhausts, industrial smoke, etc are known to cause several health problems. There is also some evidence that they may contribute to lung cancer. So part of your lung cancer prevention plan should be to minimize exposure to these pollutants.
Asbestos and radon exposure can lead to cancer
Both radon and asbestos are directly linked to lung cancer. They also cause other health issues. Use one of the radon detection kits available at hardware stores to measure the levels of radon in your home or office environment. If radon is present, enlist the services of an expert who can suggest corrective measures to get rid of the radon.
Similarly, it is a good idea to hire a licensed asbestos inspector to go over your home with a fine tooth comb to see if it contains any asbestos. If your home is asbestos-free he will issue a certificate stating this fact.
Taking sensible lung cancer prevention steps can go a long way towards ensuring that you remain free of this killer disease.