Are You At Risk For Lung Cancer?

A man smoking

Lung cancer causes more cancer deaths in the United States each year than deaths related to colon, prostate and breast cancers combined, according to the American Cancer Society.

READ: Lung Cancer: 4 Things Blacks Need To Know

Lung cancer occurs when you have an uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells which starts in one or both of your lungs. This growth occurs in the cells that line your air passages. Instead of these abnormal cells developing into healthy lung tissue, they multiply quickly and form tumors. This leads to your lung(s) losing their ability to provide oxygen into your bloodstream.

The good news is that you can significantly decrease your risk for lung cancer with a few lifestyle changes.

Smoking – If you smoke, you are at an increased risk for getting lung cancer. Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. Of those who have lung cancer, 90% of these individuals are smokers. This smoking is not limited to cigarettes, but also includes tobacco products, cigars, and pipes. 7,000 toxic chemicals are present in tobacco smoke, many of which are poisons. Smoking increases your lung cancer by 15 to 30 times versus non-smokers risk. This cancer caused by smoking can also cause cancer in others parts of your body.

Prevention Tip: The good news is that if you quit smoking at any age, you can significantly lower your risk of developing lung cancer.

Secondhand smoke exposure – If you do not smoke, but you are around someone who does smoke regularly, this increases your risk for lung cancer as well. When you breathe in secondhand smoke, it is very similar to smoking. Forty percent of adults and 50% of kids who don’t spoke are exposed to secondhand smoke on a regular basis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that some 7,300 people who are non-smokers die from secondhand smoke which has caused them to have lung cancer.

Prevention Tip: Protect yourself by limiting your exposure to smokers as much as possible to significantly decrease your risk for lung cancer.