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Ways to Reduce Lung Cancer Risk for Smokers

Studies show that smoking tobacco products in any form is the major cause of lung cancer. So, if you smoke, the best way to prevent lung cancer and other serious conditions is to stop smoking as soon as possible.

Cancer By Ariba Khaliq / Dec 20, 2014

Lung Cancer Alert!

There's no sure way to prevent lung cancer, but you can reduce your risk. Risk factors of lung cancer include smoking, being obese, and not working out enough. Anything that decreases a person's chance of developing a disease is called a protective factor. So, protective factors for lung cancer would be lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and exercising. Smokers must have sensed by now that they are at a huge risk of getting lung cancer and that they should be proactively following the protective factors. However, it is important to keep in mind that avoiding risk factors does not guarantee that you will not get cancer. Still, to steer clear of one of the leading causes of death in the world, everyone should practise a healthy lifestyle, which regardless increases your longevity.

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Kick the Butt

If you've never smoked, don't start. If you do smoke, quit it; quitting reduces your risk of lung cancer, even if you've smoked for years. Talk to your children about not smoking so that they can understand how to avoid this major risk factor for lung cancer. Conversations about the perils of smoking with your children should start early in their lives so that they know how to react to peer pressure. Tobacco smoking in the form of cigarettes, cigar, and pipes causes about 9 out of 10 cases of lung cancer in men and about 8 out of 10 cases of lung cancer in women. Also, People who smoke have about 20 times the risk of lung cancer compared to those who do not smoke. If you thought smoking low tar or low nicotine cigarettes isn’t a problem, it would be beneficial for you to know that studies have proved otherwise.  

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Delay the First Smoke of the Day

Lung cancer prediction is tricky business and a survey written in Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests that the time before first light up may be a predictor for both light and heavy smokers. In analyses adjusted for smoking intensity, duration and other lung cancer risk factors, compared to those with "time to first cigarette" (TTFC) of more than 1 hour, the risk of lung cancer was statistically significantly higher in those with shorter TTFC. The association of TTFC with lung cancer risk was stronger in current vs. former smokers and, surprisingly, in lighter vs. heavier smokers but not different between men and women.

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Get Your Home Tested for Radon

Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil. It seeps up through the ground, and leaks into the air or water supply. Radon can enter homes through cracks in floors, walls, or the foundation, and levels of radon can build up in the home. Have the radon levels in your home checked, especially if you live in an area where radon is known to be a problem. High radon levels can be remedied to make your home safer. The risk of lung cancer is higher in smokers exposed to radon than in non-smokers exposed to radon. In people who have never smoked, about 30% of deaths caused by lung cancer have been linked to being exposed to radon.

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Workplace Exposure

If you are in a profession where you are exposed to substances like asbestos, arsenic, chromium, nickel, beryllium, cadmium, and tar and soot, your risk of developing lung cancer increases. These substances can even cause lung cancer in people who are exposed to them in the workplace and have never smoked. The risk of lung cancer is even higher in people who are exposed and also smoke. As the level of exposure to these substances increases, the risk of lung cancer also increases. Follow your employer's precautions. For instance, if you're given a face mask for protection, always wear it.

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Beta Carotene Supplements

Taking beta carotene supplements (pills) increases the risk of lung cancer, especially in smokers who smoke one or more packs a day. The risk is higher in smokers who have at least one alcoholic drink every day. However, studies of non-smokers show that taking beta carotene supplements does not lower their risk of lung cancer. Beta-carotene is a carotenoid found in some plants and is an antioxidant. It is also responsible for the orange colour of carrots. Beta-carotene supplements may help people with specific health problems. For example, supplements might be used by someone with a clear vitamin A deficiency. So far studies have not found that beta-carotene supplements have the same health benefits as foods.

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Eat a Nutritious Diet

Choose a healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Food sources of vitamins and nutrients are best. Avoid taking large doses of vitamins in pill form, as they may be harmful. For instance, researchers hoping to reduce the risk of lung cancer in heavy smokers gave them beta carotene supplements. Results showed the supplements actually increased the risk of cancer in smokers. However, since smokers tend to have less healthy diets than non-smokers, it is hard to know whether the decreased risk is from having a healthy diet or from not smoking.

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Exercise Regularly

There is strong evidence to suggest that regular exercise can lower the risk of developing lung cancer and other types of cancer. Adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. Being physically active not only helps prevent lung cancer in the first place, but it appears to improve survival and quality of life for those already diagnosed, according to a 2007 study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's Sixth Annual International Conference on Cancer Prevention. You do not require hours a day or a pricey health club membership; even gardening two times a week was associated with a reduced risk.

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