More people in the U.S. die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. Lung cancer is responsible for approximately 30% of cancer deaths in the United States. In fact, it’s actually the cause of more deaths than breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer combined. November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and we’d like to share with you some important information and tips for how you can lower your lung cancer risk.
Obviously, if you smoke, the most important step you can take to lower your risk for lung cancer is to quit smoking. Quitting smoking:
- Lowers your blood pressure and your heart rate – Within 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate are reduced to almost normal.
- Repairs damaged nerve endings – Within 48 hours of quitting, damaged nerve endings begin to repair themselves, and sense of taste and smell begin to return to normal as a result.
- Lowers your risk for heart attack – Within 2-12 weeks of quitting, your heart attack risk is lowered.
- Lowers your risk for lung cancer – According to a 2005 study by the National Institute of Health, within 10 years of quitting smoking, your risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer is between 30-50% of that for the smoker who didn’t quit.
Smoking accounts for ~90% of lung cancer cases. If you smoke, this is the critical first step in lowering your lung cancer risk. If you have a history of smoking and are between the ages of 55-75, you may be a candidate for a Lung CT Scan.
Eat a Wider Variety and More Fruits & Veggies
In November 2007, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund published Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective, the most comprehensive report on diet and cancer ever completed. The study found evidence linking diets high in fruit and their ability to lower lung cancer risk to be probable. This is one of the core reasons that the AICR recommends consuming at least five portions a day of fruits and vegetables. After evaluating approximately 500,000 people in 10 countries in Europe, another study demonstrated intaking a variety of produce may also help lower lung cancer risk, so make sure to vary the color on your plate!
If you have specific questions about lung cancer, whether they’re related to prevention, risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, support, or otherwise, Dr. Ramalingam is hosting a free 1-hour online web chat about Lung Cancer on Thursday, November 17th. Dr. Ramalingam will also be fielding questions on the topic of Lung CT scanning, a lung cancer screening mechanism that studies have shown may help lower the risk of lung cancer mortality.
You can ask as many questions as you’d like in the chat, or feel free to sign up to check out Dr. Ramalingam’s answers to other participant questions. We hope to see you there!