Lung Cancer Prevention

By Rey Maquiling (RN pending – Dec 2011)

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Lung cancer has surfaced as one of the world’s leading causes of death in both men and women. However morbid its prognosis is, it is one of the few cancers that is highly preventable by sheer determination and discipline. Ninety percent of all lung cancer cases in the world occur in smokers and former smokers. The main culprit of the increasing incidence of lung cancer has been pinpointed and the initiative for its decreasing morbidity and occurrence is a joint effort of the government, private sector and most of all, the public.

In all cancers, the single most effective way of preventing its occurrence is by reducing the exposure to risk factors and increasing the protective factors. To some, especially those whose lifestyle has been embedded with these risks, it is an arduous task but nothing is ever easy towards health and if it entails saving a life, every sacrifice is worth it.

Listed below are a few of the helpful ways to reduce the incidence of lung cancer and decrease its associated morbidity:

For non-smokers, never even contemplate smoking.

Smoking is associated with almost every type of lung and respiratory disease, not to mention its marked involvement in other chronic diseases such as heart attack and hypertension. Its highly addictive nature would make quitting a difficult task.

For non-smokers, minimize exposure to secondhand and passive smoking.

It has been proven that sidestream smoking has far more alarming effects to health; therefore, non-smokers must avoid constant inhalation of secondhand smoke.

For smokers, quit smoking.

Studies have shown that after a year of quitting smoking, the risk for acquiring lung cancer significantly drops. Nicotine gums, sprays, inhalers and certain prescription medications have significantly helped those who want to quit despite the addiction thereby making them a viable option. In addition, out of courtesy, never exhale your smoke towards other people.

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Be aware of air quality.

For those whose work entails prolonged exposure to asbestos and other toxic gases, adhere to the standard precaution of protection when at work. If one is required to wear mask, then do so as requested.

Keep a home kit for radon testing and correction.

This will check and correct radon levels at home in order to protect families from the risk of exposure to radon and its twin effect of lung cancer.

Be vigilant of your health.

Never dismiss signs and symptoms and consult a doctor whenever possible.  As lung cancer is asymptomatic, treatment is better started at an earlier stage and it can only be detected through random testing from a routine medical check-up.  Periodic X-rays are imperative for current smokers and former smokers.

Eat healthy with a good amount of fruits and vegetables.

These two types of food are known to boost the immune system reducing the body’s susceptibility to acquiring chronic diseases such as lung cancer.

Exercise regularly.

Studies have shown that increasing the level of physical activity can decrease the risks of lung cancer.

Although many steps can be taken to reduce cancer risks, no one can be completely invulnerable.  If you’re experiencing any of the typical symptoms of lung cancer, please speak to your doctor.