Understanding the Risks of Lung Cancer
Although its common knowledge that smoking is a significant contributing factor in getting lung cancer, many do not realize that non-smokers can be at risk too. According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide, and over 2 million new cases were diagnosed in 2018. While this may be an alarming statistic, smokers can significantly reduce their risk by quitting smoking and avoiding other risk factors that can affect both smokers and non-smokers. Here’s what you need to know:
Lung Cancer Risk Factors for Non-Smokers
The American Cancer Society reports that as many as 20% of people who succumb to lung cancer in the U.S. have never smoked or used tobacco in any form. Here are some of the top risk factors that non-smokers should be aware of:
- Exposure to radon gas is one of the leading causes of lung cancer for non-smokers. Radon can get into the home through soil that has been contaminated with uranium deposits. Our senses cannot detect radon — the only way to know if there is radon in your home is to have it professionally tested.
- Second-hand smoke exposes a non-smoker to the same cancer-causing agents and is just as bad as smoking a cigarette or other tobacco products such as a cigar.
- Working with cancer-causing agents like arsenic, asbestos, and diesel exhaust can increase your risk of lung cancer. If you work with these substances, you must follow OSHA safety standards and limit contact whenever possible.
Lung Cancer Symptoms
Early detection of lung cancer is the best way to increase your chances of survival. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it’s critical to contact your doctor immediately for an examination:
- Chest pain with deep breathing.
- Persistent cough, coughing up blood/ rust-colored phlegm.
- Shortness of breath.
- Recurring infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
How To Decrease Your Risk of Lung Cancer
Whether you are a smoker or not, lung cancer is not entirely preventable. However, you can decrease your risks by doing the following:
- Quit smoking tobacco.
- Test your home for radon.
- Take safety precautions when working with carcinogens.
- Avoid second-hand smoke.
- Incorporate a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables.
Take Our Lung Cancer Risk Assessment
If you are concerned about your risk in developing lung cancer, take our free Lung Cancer Risk Assessment Test. Answering a few simple questions can provide you with valuable information about your risk of developing lung cancer. To learn more about lung cancer treatment and prevention, contact The Parrish Cancer Center today at 321-529-6202. Our caring oncologists are here to help you every step of the way.