Lung cancer is one of the leading cancers causing increased morbidity and mortality worldwide. It is commonly associated with smoking and asbestos exposure, although there are other underlying causes that increase an individual’s risks.
As with diseases with a modifiable risk factor, there are ways to minimise your risks and prevent the development and progression of lung cancer.
Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 12 Nov 2021
How to Prevent Lung Cancer
There are some measures you can take to reduce the risk of contracting lung cancer. The most important issue is to not smoke and to avoid secondhand smoke.
You have a reduced chance of lung cancer if you have never smoked cigarettes. If you smoke, particularly if you’re a heavy smoker, the chances of developing lung cancer are 30 times greater than if you don’t. It’s also important to consider how long you’ve been smoking.
You'll also want to stay away from the following things:
- Radon gas. It is a colourless, odourless, toxic gas that may be released from soil and rock. It can seep into well-insulated homes via leaks through the foundation.
- Asbestos. People who are exposed to asbestos, either at their workplace or are in close contact with family or friends that work around asbestos, are at a high risk of developing mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer.
Lung disease runs in some families, but since you can't control it, focus on the risk factors you can control.
What Can I Do to Prevent Lung Cancer?
Although you won't be able to prevent every case, you may take steps to lower your risk.
- If you smoke, make quitting a top priority. It's a difficult task. And it usually takes a few tries to break the habit for good. Thousands of people succeed in stopping smoking, reducing their risk of lung cancer. Consult a doctor on the most appropriate methods for quitting smoking.
- Encourage smokers to stop and remind them not to smoke around you if you live or work around them.
- Beta-carotene supplements should be avoided. It has been shown in studies that it can increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers.
- Test for radon in your house. Many hardware stores sell a low-cost, simple-to-use radon-testing kit.
- When you work around cancer-causing chemicals, make sure you follow all safety protocols.
- Exercising and consuming a diet high in fruits and vegetables are also advised. These good practices will help you reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Referenced on 2.4.2021
- National Cancer Institute.
- American Cancer Society: “Can Lung Cancer Be Prevented?"
- American Lung Association.
- National Institutes of Health: “NIH State-of-the-Science Conference Statement on Multivitamin/Mineral Supplements and Chronic Disease Prevention."
- Environmental Protection Agency.
- Bach, P. Journal of the American Medical Association, March 7, 2007.
- American College of Physicians: “Section 12 VIII Lung Cancer.”