According to the American Cancer Society, in 2017, an estimated 1,688,780 new cancer cases will be diagnosed and 600,920 deaths due to cancer in the US. Not very happy statistics, we know. World Lung Cancer Day is recognized on August 1, so for today we’re focusing specifically on this type of cancer.
Anyone can get lung cancer. Lung cancer happens when cells in the lung mutate or change and this mutation can be caused by various factors. Most often, this change in lung cells happens when people breathe in dangerous, toxic substances. Even if you were exposed to these substances many years ago, you are still at risk for lung cancer. Here’s What the American Lung Association says about the causes of lung cancer.
Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. It causes about 90 percent of lung cancer cases. Tobacco smoke contains many chemicals that are known to cause lung cancer. If you still smoke, quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do for your lung health.
Unfortunately, smokers are not the only ones affected by cigarette smoke. If you are a former smoker, your risk is decreased, but has not gone away completely—you can still get lung cancer. Nonsmokers also can be affected by smoking. Breathing in secondhand smoke puts you at risk for lung cancer or other illnesses like COPD.
To protect your lungs:
- Don’t start smoking
- Quit smoking if you smoke
- Avoid secondhand smoke
Radon exposure is the second-leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that exists naturally in soil. It comes up through the soil and enters buildings through small gaps and cracks. One out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is subject to radon exposure. Exposure to radon combined with cigarette smoking seriously increases your lung cancer risk. To help reduce your risk of exposure, test your home for radon. You can do this with inexpensive, easy-to-use test kits sold at hardware stores.
Exposure to certain hazardous chemicals poses a lung cancer risk. Working with materials such as asbestos, uranium, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nickel and some petroleum products is especially dangerous. If you think you may be breathing in hazardous chemicals at your job, talk to your employer and your primary care provider to find out how to protect yourself.
Particle pollution refers to a mix of very tiny solid and liquid particles in the air we breathe. Evidence shows that particle pollution—like that coming from exhaust smoke—increases the risk of lung cancer. Help fight pollution. Work with others in your community to clean up the air you and your family breathe.
Genetic factors also may play a role in one’s chances of developing lung cancer. A family history of lung cancer may mean you are at a higher risk of getting the disease. If others in your family have or ever had lung cancer, it’s important to mention this to your doctor.
Information orginally posted here: http://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/lung-cancer/learn-about-lung-cancer/how-do-i-reduce-my-risk/