According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths and the second most common cancer among men and women in the United States. In keeping with November being lung cancer awareness month, this article will address common causes of lung cancer and how to avoid it.
The CDC has found that 80% to 90% of lung cancers are directly linked to cigarette smoking. Secondhand smoke, which is cigarette smoke breathed in from another person’s smoking, leads to an average of 7,300 deaths in the United States annually. Smoking and being around others who smoke greatly increases the likelihood of getting and potentially dying from lung cancer.
A lesser known contributor to the development of lung cancer is radon, which is a naturally occurring gas that comes from rocks and dirt and can get trapped in houses and buildings. There are tests that can be done on homes and other buildings to test for radon. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon cannot be seen or smelled. The only way to determine the presence of radon is to test for it. The EPA website contains more information on radon and its effects here: https://www.epa.gov/radon.
The CDC estimates that 200,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with lung cancer each year, and 150,000 of that average die from the disease. That is 75% of the diagnosed who do not make it through the battle with lung cancer. This is a staggering statistic.
There are ways to lower the risk of a lung cancer diagnosis. Not smoking or quitting smoking is the most commonly discussed method of prevention. Helpful tools and tips to stop smoking can be found on smokefree.gov. (https://www.smokefree.gov/).
Another tip on battling lung cancer and promoting prevention is screening. Early detection is often the best fight against any disease. Screening is especially recommended for individuals who smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke regularly. Advanced age with a long history of smoking is another good indicator of the necessity of screening.