Causes and prevention of lung cancer
The incidence of lung cancer is firmly correlated with cigarette smoking, with about 90% of lung cancers arising because of tobacco use. The risk of lung cancer increases with the number of cigarettes smoked over time; doctors refer to this risk in terms of pack-years of smoking history (the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day multiplied by the number of years smoked).
Tobacco smoke is made up of more than 60 different toxic substances, which can lead to the development of cancer. These chemicals are considered to be carcinogenic (cancer-producing).
If you smoke more than 25 cigarettes a day, you are twenty-five times more likely to get lung cancer than a non-smoker.
While smoking cigarettes is the biggest risk factor, using other types of tobacco products can also increase your likelihood of developing lung cancer and other types of cancer, such as esophageal cancer and mouth area cancer. These products include:
- Pipe tobacco
- Snuff (a powdered form of tobacco)
- Chewing tobacco
Smoking cannabis has also been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer. Most cannabis smokers mix their cannabis with tobacco. While they tend to smoke less than tobacco smokers, they usually inhale more deeply and hold the smoke in their lungs for longer.
It’s been estimated that smoking four joints (homemade cigarettes mixed with cannabis) may be as damaging to the lungs as smoking 20 cigarettes.
Even smoking cannabis without mixing it with tobacco is dangerous. This is due to cannabis also contains substances that can cause cancer.
If you don’t smoke cigarettes, frequent exposure to other people’s tobacco smoke (passive smoking) can increase your risk of developing lung cancer.
For example, research has found that non-smoking women who share their house with a smoking partner are 25% very likely to develop lung cancer than non-smoking women who live with a non-smoking partner.
Occupational publicity and pollution
Exposure to certain chemicals and chemicals utilized in several occupations and industries has been associated to a rather higher risk of developing lung cancer. These chemicals and substances include:
- The product
- Fossil fuel and coke fumes
Preventing lung cancer
Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer. By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of cancer in a group or population is lowered. Hopefully, this will lower the number of deaths caused by cancer.
To stop new types of cancer from starting, scientists look at risk factors and protective factors. Whatever improves your chance of growing cancer is called a cancer risk factor; anything at all that decreases your chance of developing cancer is called a cancer safety factor.
If you’ve never smoked, don’t start. Talk to your children about not smoking so that they can understand how to avoid this major risk factor for lung cancer. Begin conversations about the dangers of smoking with your children early so that they know how to react to peer pressure.
If you smoke cigarettes, the ultimate way to prevent lung malignancy and other serious conditions is to stop smoking as soon as possible.
However long you have been smoking, it’s always worth quitting. Every year you don’t smoke decreases your risk of getting serious illnesses, such as lung cancer. After 10 years of not smoking, your chances of developing lung cancer falls to half that of someone who smokes.
Research suggests that eating a low-fat, high-fibre diet, including at least five portions a day of fresh fruit and fresh vegetables and plenty of fibers rich foods, can reduce your risk of lung cancer, as well as other types of malignancy and heart disease.
There is strong evidence to suggest that regular exercise can lower the risk of developing lung cancer and other types of tumor.
Adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week.