Your lungs comprise two spongy organs that take in oxygen with every inhale and expel carbon dioxide with every exhale. Without your lungs, your blood would not get the oxygen it needs. Thankfully, your lungs are fairly resilient, capable of healing themselves and even regrowing to an extent following surgical removal.
Unfortunately, a mutation can contribute to the abnormal, uncontrolled growth of cells, resulting in lung cancer. While not much is understood about cancer, there are certain steps that men and women can take to potentially avoid lung cancer or at least reduce the risk. Read on to learn some tips on how to prevent lung cancer.
Understanding Lung Cancer
Lung cancer refers to any cancer that originates in cells and tissues of the lungs. This is distinct from secondary lung cancer, which starts elsewhere in the body before spreading into the lungs.
In early lung cancer stages, it can be difficult to pinpoint cancer as it doesn’t typically cause any noticeable symptoms until it has advanced. Although early signs of lung cancer are subtle, some common signs and symptoms to look out for include:
- Wheezing and shortness of breath
- A sudden, persistent cough that cannot be connected to a bacterial or viral infection
- Chest pain
- Unintended weight loss
- Loss of muscle mass
- Bone pain, particularly in the hips and back
- General fatigue
Many of these symptoms can be easily mistaken for other health issues, so it’s important to see your doctor if you believe you are experiencing any lung issues. Early detection will allow you to best assess your options for conventional or holistic treatment for lung cancer.
Causes and Risk Factors of Lung Cancer
Cancer is caused by a genetic mutation that forces cells to grow out of control. That abnormal growth results in the formation of masses and lesions (tumors) that can eventually spread into other parts of the body. Research still does not know what exactly causes this genetic mutation for any form of cancer, though there is an understanding that both environmental and hereditary factors may play a role.
While the mystery still remains for lung cancer, there are some well-known risk factors that can potentially make you more susceptible to the development of lung cancer. Understanding these causes may help you avoid lung cancer.
The most prominently known risk factor for lung cancer is smoking. As the leading risk factor, smoking is responsible for an estimated 80 percent of lung cancer deaths. This number is believed to be even higher for cases of small cell lung cancer.
Whether it’s smoking cigarettes, cigars, or a pipe, tobacco smoke contains a variety of toxins that damage the lining of the lungs. While your lungs can heal damage, your lungs have trouble repairing damage from repeated exposure to smoke. Eventually, the damaged cells can begin to grow abnormally and develop into cancer.
The combustion of any material results in the production of toxins and cancer-causing chemicals. However, cigarettes are high in added toxins, normally used in high numbers, and addictive thanks to their nicotine content. In addition to cigarettes, people commonly ask “can smoking weed cause lung cancer?” And although there is no definitive answer, repeated exposure to any kind of smoke is bad for your lungs.
Although not all smokers will be diagnosed with lung cancer, the risk of lung cancer for smokers is significantly higher than for non-smokers. This risk increases based on how long you have been smoking and the number of cigarettes that you smoke.
Even if you don’t smoke, secondhand smoke is also a risk factor for lung cancer. Secondhand smoke contains as many of the same chemicals as direct smoke and is estimated to contribute to over 7,000 lung cancer-related deaths per year.
Asbestos is a type of fibrous mineral that is naturally found in soil and rocks. This mineral became popular among manufacturers for its flexibility and resistance to heat, making it a common component of vinyl tiles, insulation, and auto manufacturing.
The problem with asbestos comes with its physical characteristics. Its fibrous make-up is relatively resilient, even when broken down into microscopic particles. Breathing in those particles introduces the tiny shards into your lungs, resulting in damage. With enough exposure, you may cause extensive damage to the lining of your lungs, potentially resulting in cancer.
Radon is a natural gas that results from the breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil. It is invisible, tasteless, and scentless, and in the outdoors, the amount of radon is nearly negligible. Indoors, radon can accumulate, leading to high concentrations, particularly in basements.
Breathing radon in introduces a great deal of radiation to your lungs, which can harm or change the cells in your lung tissues. Radon is believed to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in the country. For non-smokers, radon exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer.
How to Prevent Lung Cancer
Now that you understand the causes, here are some tips for lung cancer prevention.
As smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, the best way to drastically reduce your risk of lung cancer is to avoid smoking. If you do smoke, it may be a good time to quit. This is easier said than done, but the longer you smoke, the more harm you do to your lungs.
Even if you have smoked for years, quitting can reduce your risk of lung cancer. Your lungs also start to heal almost as soon as you stop smoking. Many of the short-term inflammatory issues get reversed. Swelling goes down and the lung’s cilia begin to grow and help to move excess mucus out of the lungs. Support groups, nicotine patches, and other options are available that can help you quit smoking.
Avoid Secondhand Smoke
This can be difficult as it’s not always something you have control over, but to the best of your ability, try to avoid secondhand smoke. If you live or work with smokers, ask them to quit smoking or to at least smoke outside. Seek out smoke-free options when going to restaurants, bars, or other social gatherings.
Test for Radon
Have your home tested for radon levels, particularly in high-risk areas and in homes with basement rooms. There are a variety of methods for reducing high radon levels, including sealing cracks in walls and increasing ventilation, though these methods must be implemented by experts.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a diet that is high in lung cancer fighting foods like certain fruits and vegetables may help to reduce your risk of lung cancer. Some research suggests that fruits and vegetables may protect smokers and non-smokers from lung cancer. However, providing high doses of vitamins and supplements has not been shown to have the same effect. Some studies actually found that regularly taking beta-carotene supplements could actually increase the risk of lung cancer.
Stay Physically Active
Physical activity is good for just about every aspect of your health. Regular aerobic activity can help to work out your lungs, keeping them healthy and pumping properly. Try to get some moderately intense exercise most days of the week.
Prevention is Key
There is no way to completely prevent lung cancer. Some people who have a heavy smoking history never get lung cancer, while people who seem completely fine are diagnosed with lung cancer. There is no true way to predict who will and will not get cancer, but you can still take some necessary steps to keep your risk of developing lung cancer low. If you do develop it, some of the above steps can help you in fighting lung cancer naturally.
If you believe that you or a loved one may have lung cancer, contact your doctor. Taking the precautionary steps now can save you from a more advanced lung cancer diagnosis. If you’ve been diagnosed, consider pursuing alternative cancer treatments. Here at Immunity Therapy Center, we believe in the power of holistic cancer treatment centers. Our treatment plans are tailored specifically to you, as every individual is not the same. For more information, contact us today.
At Immunity Therapy Center, our goal is to provide objective, updated, and research-based information on all health-related topics. This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by Dr. Carlos Bautista, a Board Certified Medical Doctor at Immunity Therapy Center. All information published on the site must undergo an extensive review process to ensure accuracy. This article contains trusted sources with all references hyperlinked for the reader's visibility.