Lung cancer: Ten ways to reduce your risk

Lung cancer: Ten ways to reduce your risk

Lung cancer accounts for 25% of all cancer deaths, but there are lifestyle choices you can make to lower your risk of getting it. In this article, we highlight ten. 

World lung cancer day
World lung cancer day/iStock

Among all types of cancer, lung cancer is the second most common and the leading cause of cancer-related deaths. 

The World Health Organisation reports that lung cancer results in 2.21-million cases every year. 

In 2020, lung cancer killed 1.80-million people, making it the most common cause of cancer death. 

- Tobacco use

The most important risk factor for lung cancer remains tobacco smoking, reports National Library of Medicine. It further states that it is estimated that 33.4% of males and 8.3% of females above the age of 15 are consumers of tobacco in South Africa. 

Healthline explains that 'when you breathe in tobacco smoke, thousands of chemicals enter your lungs. Many of these chemicals have the potential to damage the DNA in your lung cells.'

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- Alcohol consumption

Having three or more alcoholic drinks a day increased lung cancer risk by 30 percent, reports Drug Free organisation. 

- Unhealthy diet

Diets high in sugars, saturated and trans- fats, highly flavoured food, highly processed food, low fibre foods and high-sugar drinks contribute to health problems. 

- Physical inactivity

Studies show that regularly active people are less likely to develop lung cancer, reports

- Family history

5% to 10% of all cases of cancer are inherited, states

World Health Organisation lists the following preventative measures: 

- Not using tobacco;

- Maintaining a healthy body weight;

- Eating a healthy diet, including fruit and vegetables;

- Doing physical activity on a regular basis;

- Avoiding or reducing consumption of alcohol;

- Getting vaccinated against HPV and hepatitis B if you belong to a group for which vaccination is recommended;

- Avoiding ultraviolet radiation exposure (which primarily results from exposure to the sun and artificial tanning devices) and/or using sun protection measures;

- Ensuring safe and appropriate use of radiation in health care (for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes);

- Minimizing occupational exposure to ionizing radiation; and

- Reducing exposure to outdoor air pollution and indoor air pollution, including radon (a radioactive gas produced from the natural decay of uranium, which can accumulate in buildings — homes, schools and workplaces).

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