November is Lung Cancer Awareness month. Cancer.ca describes lung cancer as “Lung cancer starts in the cells of the lung. A cancerous (malignant) tumour is a group of cancer cells that can grow into and destroy nearby tissue. It can also spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. When cancer starts in lung cells, it is called primary lung cancer.”
Many people associate lung cancer with smoking, but this is not always the cause and there are many factors that can lead to the development of lung cancer, including but not limited to, radon, asbestos, family history, pollution, exposure to radiation, and others.
There are many types of Lung Cancer which include:
- Small cell lung cancer
- Non-small cell lung cancer
- Adenocarcinoma (most common)
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Superior sulcus (Pancoast) tumours
- Large cell carcinoma
- Neuroendocrine lung tumours
- Rare types of non–small cell lung tumours
- adenosquamous carcinoma
- sarcomatoid carcinoma
- mucoepidermoid and adenoid cystic carcinomas
- non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- soft tissue sarcoma
- Lung metastases
There is no sure way to prevent getting lung cancer but there are things you can do to lessen your risk (source: Mayo Clinic):
- Don’t smoke. If you’ve never smoked, don’t start. Talk to your children about not smoking so that they can understand how to avoid this major risk factor for lung cancer. Begin conversations about the dangers of smoking with your children early so that they know how to react to peer pressure.
- Stop smoking. Stop smoking now. Quitting reduces your risk of lung cancer, even if you’ve smoked for years. Talk to your doctor about strategies and stop-smoking aids that can help you quit. Options include nicotine replacement products, medications and support groups.
- Avoid secondhand smoke. If you live or work with a smoker, urge him or her to quit. At the very least, ask him or her to smoke outside. Avoid areas where people smoke, such as bars and restaurants, and seek out smoke-free options.
- Test your home for radon. Have the radon levels in your home checked, especially if you live in an area where radon is known to be a problem. High radon levels can be remedied to make your home safer. For information on radon testing, contact your local department of public health or a local chapter of the American Lung Association.
- Avoid carcinogens at work. Take precautions to protect yourself from exposure to toxic chemicals at work. Follow your employer’s precautions. For instance, if you’re given a face mask for protection, always wear it. Ask your doctor what more you can do to protect yourself at work. Your risk of lung damage from workplace carcinogens increases if you smoke.
- Eat a diet full of fruits and vegetables. Choose a healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Food sources of vitamins and nutrients are best. Avoid taking large doses of vitamins in pill form, as they may be harmful. For instance, researchers hoping to reduce the risk of lung cancer in heavy smokers gave them beta carotene supplements. Results showed the supplements actually increased the risk of cancer in smokers.
- Exercise most days of the week. If you don’t exercise regularly, start out slowly. Try to exercise most days of the week.
If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one please speak with your doctor about treatment and care options and learn as much as you can about lung cancer. Or call us today at 1-866-982-2737 and speak with some about setting up an at home care assessment today.