By: Tina Jacob
November is Lung Cancer Awareness month. With a 5-year survival rate of 17%, lung cancer claims more lives than breast, prostate, and colon cancers combined. It is estimated that 1 in 14 men and 1 in 17 women will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime.
The most obvious cause for lung cancer is smoking; this habit is linked to about 80%-90% of lung cancers. However, not all people who are diagnosed with lung cancer are smokers. In fact, as many as 20% of people who die from lung cancer are non-tobacco users. There are other less known potential risk factors for lung cancer such as secondhand smoke, asbestos, diesel exhaust, air pollution, radon, and gene mutations.
Symptoms for lung cancer include nagging cough, chest pain, constant infections, wheezing, and shortness of breath but do not present themselves until the cancer has already moved to an advanced stage. Interestingly enough, in cases where lung cancer was found early, it was on accident during a test for another illness such as heart disease. The best way to avoid a lung cancer diagnosis is by taking care of yourself.
There are tons of ways to help reduce your risk for lung cancer. You should limit or avoid exposure to any of the gasses mentioned above (second hand smoke, asbestos, diesel exhaust, air pollution, and radon). Another way to help reduce your risk for not only lung cancer but all cancers is to eat a healthy diet and get regular physical activity. A diet full of fruits and vegetables will help keep your body stay in tip top shape, giving you the energy to do more of what you love!
Start today by taking those small preventative steps to make the most of life and the least of lung cancer!