Lung Cancer Awareness 101
Here’s our Lung Cancer Awareness 101 -a resource about the risk factors, symptoms and some ways to prevent lung cancer.
The first step towards beating lung cancer is to know more about the risks and spread the knowledge. It is true that lung cancer occurs most in smokers, and that the risk of getting lung cancer increases with the length of time and number of cigarettes you have smoked. But lung cancer can occur even in people who have never smoked in their lives! The best way to beat lung cancer is to know the primary risk factors. These include:
- Exposure to second hand smoke for a prolonged period
- Exposure to asbestos and similar carcinogens
- Exposure to radon gas
- Having a family history of lung cancer
In its early stages, lung cancer doesn’t typically show obvious signs and symptoms. These usually occur only when the disease is advanced, and they can often be mistaken for a bad cold or flue. They include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- A cough that doesn’t go away
- Coughing up blood
- Unexplained weight loss
- Bone pain
See your doctor if you are concerned about something being out of the ordinary for your body, or if you have any persistent signs from the list above. For more info on cancer and it’s various types, read our What is Cancer page.
There is no surefire way to prevent lung cancer, but you can certainly reduce the risks. Here are some of the ways:
Don’t Smoke – If you aren’t a smoker, this is great. Protect your children and other young people in your family from lung cancer by speaking to them early on about the dangers of smoking.
Quit Smoking – it’s never too late to stop smoking. Even if you’ve smoked for years, quitting now can reduce your risk of lung cancer. If you find it difficult, talk to your doctor about ways and aids to help you break the habit.
Avoid Second Hand Smoke – ever since the UK’s smoking ban in enclosed public spaces, it’s now easier to avoid inhaling second hand smoke. Still, stay away from smokers and urge members of your family or friends who smoke to quit smoking or only smoke outside the house.
Test your Home for Radon – radon is a colourless, odourless gas produced by the radioactive breakdown of small amounts of uranium that occur naturally in soil and rock. You can find out more about how to measure for radon in your home and how to reduce high levels through simple building works at UKRadon.
Avoid Exposure to Asbestos and Other Carcinogens – if your work involves exposure to such chemicals, take care to reduce your exposure to them. Always wear face masks and protective gear, and follow employer precautionary procedures to a T. Eating yogurt can also help as some studies show that bacteria used in the production of lactic-acid inactivate carcinogens.
Eat Lots of Fruit and Veg – Maintaining a healthy diet is key to a healthy lifestyle. Choose a diet rich in antioxidants such selenium, beta carotene and vitamins C and E. These can protect against oxidants which lead to cell damage. Ideally these vitamins and minerals should occur naturally in the food you eat. Avoid taking them in supplement form, since these can in fact cause more harm than good!
Exercise Regularly – Exercise helps maintain healthy hormone levels, decreases inflammation, improves immune function and contributes to higher levels of natural antioxidants. It also reduces other factors that can contribute to the growth of cancer such as insulin.
If you found this resource useful share it with others! Protect your family and friends by telling them about them or post it to Facebook and Twitter. You could be two clicks away from saving someone’s life.
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