Lung cancer is a deadly disease, but it is preventable and treatable. Although there is no surefire way to prevent lung cancer, there are plenty of simple things you can do to reduce your risk of developing it. Most of them involve minor changes in your current lifestyle.
Whether you are a smoker or not, taking health precautions and living a healthy life is essential to minimising lung cancer risk for you and your family. To help you in your lifestyle-changing endeavour, here are some of the simple yet effective methods you can adopt to reduce your risk of lung cancer.
1. Quit smoking
Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer in the world. In Singapore, about 90% of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking. Of the more than 7,000 chemicals found in tobacco smoke, at least 10% of these substances are known to cause cancer.
If you are a smoker, you should consider quitting to lower your risk of developing lung cancer. Getting rid of your smoking habit is one of the most effective lung cancer prevention methods. However, if you are having a hard time giving up your smoking habit, you may wish to seek a counsellor or a support group to help you get through this challenging period.
Not only will you have more energy and stamina to enjoy the things you love, but you will also be protecting the health of your friends, family members and colleagues from the risks associated with breathing in secondhand smoke.
2. Avoid secondhand smoke
Non-smokers are also at risk of developing lung cancer when inhaling the chemicals emitted from a cigarette through secondhand smoke. The substances from tobacco smoke are no less deadly when consumed indirectly. Even brief exposures can cause harm to our human body.
To minimise your risk of passive smoking, you should refrain from sitting near a smoking zone when dining out. Thankfully, due to Singapore’s strict smoking laws, these areas are indicated by public establishments, so the public knows which places to avoid. If you have friends who are smokers, you should inform them that they are not allowed to smoke inside your house or car. Additionally, you should instruct your kids to avoid standing close to anyone who is smoking a cigarette.
3. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Exercising and eating healthy are the best ways to lower your chances of falling sick. Several studies have shown that doing physical activities on a regular basis can reduce the risk of lung cancer by about 20% to 30% in women and 20% to 50% in men1. This is due to the increased lung function and improved immune system that comes with regular exercises.
When it comes to food, you should consider introducing more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein to your diet as they significantly lower your risk of lung cancer. In fact, according to various published studies, increasing the daily intake of fresh fruits by 100 grams can minimise the possibility of smokers developing lung cancer by 5% and former smokers by 4%.
4. Do a screening test
If your family has a history of lung cancer, you may be at a higher risk of getting the disease in your lifetime. This increased risk can be attributed to both genetic and environmental factors. You should schedule an appointment with a specialist as soon as possible if you suspect you are at risk of developing lung cancer.
They would typically recommend you undergo a cancer screening test so they can better understand your condition and determine a treatment plan if necessary. Early detection of lung cancer can increase the possibility of treating the disease. Therefore, it is advisable for you to get yourself checked so you can have peace of mind.
Prevention is the best medicine. There are various ways you can minimise your risk of lung cancer. Most of these things – getting rid of your smoking habit, avoiding secondhand smoke, exercising and eating healthy, and going for regular screening tests – require dedication to pull off, but they can improve your overall health to a great extent.
We have dedicated lung cancer specialists and a cancer screening team who possesses the expertise to deliver patient-centric care in cancer diagnosis and treatment. If you are planning to get yourself checked, you can contact us to schedule an appointment today.
1. Emaus A., Thune I. (2010) Physical Activity and Lung Cancer Prevention. In: Courneya K., Friedenreich C. (eds) Physical Activity and Cancer. Recent Results in Cancer Research, vol 186. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-04231-7_5