Reducing Your Lung Cancer Risk!

Your lungs are part of the respiratory system that works together to help you breathe. They bring fresh oxygen into your body and remove carbon dioxide and other waste gases that your body doesn't need. Every cell in your body needs oxygen to survive. 


This November, we recognize lung cancer awareness month and ways to live healthily to help prevent disease development. There's no sure way to prevent lung cancer, but you can reduce your risk. Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. If you smoke, quit now, and if you don’t, don’t start. Not smoking or quitting smoking is the best way to prevent lung cancer. By doing this, you are protecting yourself and those around you. Avoiding secondhand smoke is equally as important. 


Dr. Amishi Desai is a board-certified hematologist and oncologist specializing in lung malignancies at New York Cancer & Blood Specialists. Dr. Desai emphasizes, “It doesn’t matter if you quit smoking,” said Dr. Desai. However, it is important to prioritize your lung health and receive lung screenings if you were a smoker or still are. “Lung cancer screenings detect early-stage cancer that may not require systemic therapy. It can be treated with simple surgery or radiation and definitely prolongs survival”, said Dr. Desai.


The second leading cause of lung cancer is radon exposure. Radon is a colorless and odorless chemical that is found naturally in soil. Every home should get tested for radon to decrease lung cancer risk.


In some work environments, you may be exposed to cancer-causing substances, more specifically carcinogens, increasing your chance of developing lung cancer. Dr. Desai said,“We see a lot of asbestos exposure or chemicals in the workplace environment” , said Dr. Desai. Therefore, it is very important to follow all safety guidelines your employer provides, specifically if you work in the construction and chemical industries. Some of these hazardous substances include arsenic, asbestos, and diesel exhaust. 


Keeping your body as healthy as possible is another important factor in preventing lung cancer. Making sure your diet is healthy and consists of lots of fruits and vegetables is best because of the vitamins and nutrients it brings into your body. 


Regular exercise is another way to keep your body healthy and prevent lung cancer.  When it comes to exercise and your lung health, cardiovascular exercise is the way to go. Cardiovascular exercise helps your lungs and heart become stronger and stay that way. Some examples of cardiovascular exercise you can do are walking, running, swimming and biking.


It is also important to practice cardiovascular exercise if you are diagnosed with lung cancer. Exercise can help those with lung cancer because it increases strength as well as endurance. Keeping up with physical activity can also help patients tolerate cancer treatments while increasing their energy levels. 


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