There is no surefire way to prevent any type of cancer. And there are some risk factors you cannot change, including family history. However, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk. Here are some ways to lower your risk of developing lung cancer:
- If you smoke, quit. That includes cigarettes, cigars and pipes. (Low-tar or low-nicotine cigarettes do not lower the risk of lung cancer.) According to the National Cancer Institute, smoking causes approximately 9 out of 10 cases of lung cancer in men, and about 8 out of 10 cases in women. Smoking also makes you 20 times more likely to develop lung cancer compared to a nonsmoker. In fact, the risk of lung cancer increases with every cigarette smoked.
- For nonsmokers, avoid secondhand smoke.
- Consider checking your home for radon, a radioactive gas. Thirty percent of lung cancer deaths in nonsmokers have been linked to radon exposure.
- Minimize exposure to air pollution. Check weather reports for days that are considered poor air quality.
- Be aware of workplace exposure. Asbestos, arsenic, chromium, nickel, radon, and tar and soot can increase lung cancer risks.
- Avoid beta-carotene supplements, especially if you're a heavy smoker (equal to one or more packs a day).
- Also consuming alcohol further increases your risk.
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