Today, we know how to prevent most lung cancers. While we don’t know how to prevent all forms of lung cancer, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk.
Preventing Lung Cancer
- Don’t smoke: The first step in preventing lung cancer is simple, don’t smoke. If you’ve never smoked, don’t start. If you were a smoker, stop smoking now. Make sure to talk to your kids about smoking. Make sure they know it’s a major cause of lung cancer. Have this conversation early, and often, with them.
- Use stop-smoking aids: If you do smoke, speak to your doctor about a strategy to help you quit. There are a number of aids on the market today, designed to help you quit smoking. Your doctor may suggest a replacement product or even a support group.
- Avoid secondhand smoke: If you live or work with smokers, ask them to smoke outside (or, talk to them about quitting). Make sure to avoid going to places where people smoke; if you can’t avoid these venues, at least look for smoke-free areas.
- Get a radon test kit: After smoking, radon is the top cause of lung cancer in this country, according to the EPA (the Environmental Protection Agency). Typically, you won’t even know if you’ve been overexposed, as there are no symptoms, and once you’ve been exposed, there is no treatment. If you purchase a radon tester, it can check your home for problems and you can get them fixed.
- Avoid other carcinogens: If you work in an industry that uses toxic chemicals, make sure to take all suggested precautions. Use a face mask so that you won’t breathe in the chemicals.
- Eat the rainbow: Make sure your plate contains a number of different colors throughout the day. A diet filled with a variety of fruits and vegetables provides your body with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which fight free radicals in the body. And, low levels of vitamins A and C have been linked with an increased risk for lung cancer, according to a study done by the University of Maryland Medical Center.
- Exercise: Keep your body in tip top shape by exercising most days of the week. A healthy body is better able to fight off infections, viruses, and even cancer. Shoot for at least 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week.
While scientists and doctors don’t yet know how to prevent all types of lung cancer, we can prevent some forms by following these simple steps.