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Lung cancer prevention

There are a number of recommendations that have been made about preventing lung cancer. These recommendations include the following:

Do not smoke. If you have never smoked, do not start. Talk to other family members about the dangers of smoking so that understand the risks. Discuss the issues with your children early so that they can manage the peer pressure in not smoking.

Stop smoking. If you smoke, stop. It is never too late. Quitting reduces the risk of lung disease even if you have smoked for years. There are many resources to assist individuals with smoking cessation.

Avoid secondhand smoke. Encourage those around you who smoke to stop smoking. If there is a smoker, encourage that individual to smoke outdoors (not in the house, workplace). Avoid areas where people are smoking. Seek smoke-free options.

Test your house for radon. Have the levels of radon 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. Contact The Lung Association at 1 (888) 344-LUNG (5864) or info@lungontario.ca for information on radon testing.

Avoid carcinogens at work. Take precautions to protect yourself at work from exposure to toxic chemicals. Follow your employer’s precautions. For example, if you are given a face mask, wear it. And remember, your risk increases if you are exposed to toxic chemicals at work and you also smoke.

Eat a diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables. 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.

Exercise most days of the week. Try to exercise most days of the week. If you do not currently exercise, start out slowly.

Is there a way to screen for lung cancer?

Screening is test used to detect lung cancer before any symptoms appear. Screening with low-dose CT scans can reduce deaths in those at high risk. The test is not recommended for everyone and it has some risks as well as benefits. You are considered high risk with the following criteria:

  • 55-80 year of age
  • Have a 30 pack-year history of smoking (1 pack a day for 30 years,2 packs a day for 1 years, etc)
  • Are a current smoker or have quit in the last 15 years

A ‘positive’ result from the screening does not mean that you have lung cancer. However, the result means something is abnormal and there could be another condition that needs attention. You will likely need additional procedures to find out what out exactly what is abnormal.

Talk with your doctor about screening if you are in the high risk category.