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How to Prevent Lung Cancer?

Updated on January 31, 2017

Lung Cancer Prevention Video - Brigham and Women's Hospital

How to Prevent Lung Cancer?

Normal Anatomy of Lungs and airways
Normal Anatomy of Lungs and airways | Source

What is Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is a distressing lung disease. Often lung cancer is diagnosed at an advanced stage and the patients suffer miserably. But it is also one of the easily preventable cancers. Let’s look at the lung cancer causes and try and understand what change in our lifestyle is to be brought out in order to minimise the risk of getting lung cancer. Causes of lung cancer include not only smoking but many other factors also, although a direct cause and effect relationship is established between smoking and lung cancer. Cancer prevention strategies for lung cancer should address all these risk factors.

Prevention of Cancer becomes difficult when people become habituated to beedi/cigarette smoking


Causes of Lung Cancer- Smoking

All forms of smoking like cigarettes, cigars, pipe and beedi are directly related to lung cancer. The risk of lung cancer from smoking increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day and the number of years smoked.

People believe that filter cigarettes with low tar or nicotine has less risk than other cigarettes. There is not enough scientific data to support this thought. The risk of getting lung cancer increases if you drink alcohol and smoke.

Causes of Lung Cancer- Passive Smoking

Second hand smoking or passive smoking occurs when we inhale the smoke from a person who is smoking. It is an unhealthy practice to sit inside a room and smoke when you have other inhabitants who do not smoke. Second hand smoking is also directly related to the occurrence of lung cancer. Prevention of cancer becomes a challenge if you have smokers in a family who do not care about other members' health.

Causes of Lung Cancer- Family History

It is seen that the chance of getting lung cancer increases if you have a family member who have had lung cancer or who died of lung cancer. But whether it is because of the chance of second hand smoking or for genetic predispositions is not very clear. More scientific studies to analyse this familial tendency is essential for lung cancer prevention.

If the familial tendency is because of genetic reasons, prevention of cancer becomes difficult

The level of radon inside the mud houses is more than that in other typesof houses.


Causes of Lung Cancer- Radon Exposure

Exposure to radon: Radon is a radioactive gas produced from the breakdown of uranium in soil. Radon can enter the house through cracks in the walls, windows, water pipe line etc.

Not many studies are available in India to know the level of radon. A study conducted in Tehri Garhwal, India has shown that radon levels were found to be higher in mud houses than in cemented houses.

Lung cancer prevention may become a challenge if there is unacceptable levels of radon in the atmosphere.

Causes of Lung Cancer - Environmental Pollution

There is no doubt that the number of trees has drastically come down in the recent years and the rate of environmental pollution has increased. In India specifically, the number of buildings and construction are on the rise. We should think of keeping maximum number of indoor plants as well as to plant more trees in the open to reduce the carbon foot print. Planting and maintaining more trees may help in lung cancer prevention.

Cancer Prevention at Workplace

Workplace exposure to harmful substances like asbestos, arsenic, chromium, nickel, tar and soot etc. are also risk factors for the development of lung cancer and many other lung diseases. Measures should be taken by the authorities to minimise the exposure to these risk factors at workplace.

Lung Cancer Symptoms

Symptoms of lung cancer can initially be mistaken for any other lung disease.Excessive fatigue can be the earliest symptom of lung cancer. Breathing difficulty, blood tinged sputum, chest pain, frequent respiratory infections, worsening cough, hoarse voice and weight loss can be the other symptoms for lung cancer

Lung Cancer Symptoms: What To Look For

Lung Cancer Diagnosis

Physical examination is the first step in diagnosing lung cancer. The doctor may examine your chest, listen for the breath sounds using a stethoscope and feel for any swellings or enlarged lymphnodes. The doctor may order for tests like bronchoscopy, mediastinoscopy, sputum cytology etc. for the diagnosis of lung cancer.

Types of Lung Cancer

Based on the findings of these tests, lung cancer can be divided into two major types.

Small cell lung cancer- This type of lung cancer is not very common. Only 13 percents of lung cancers belong to this category. But these cancers grow aggressively and spread rapidly.

Non-small cell lung cancer –Remaining 83 percents of the lung cancers are non –small cell lung cancers. They grow slowly than the small cell variety.

Stages of Lung Cancer

Some more investigations like CT scan, bone scan, PET scan etc are done to know whether the cancer is limited to the lung or it has spread to the other organs of the body. Lung cancer stages are decided based on the involvement of the local structures and distant organs.

Treatment of Lung Cancer

Is lung cancer curable? This is the question asked by many patients and their family members. The answer is in negative especially if it is a small cell carcinoma. The five year survival rate for small cell lung carcinoma is lesser than non –small cell lung carcinoma.

Surgery for Lung Cancer

Lung cancer surgery is done if lung cancer is detected at an early stage and if it has not spread to the other parts of the body and if it is in an operable location. Surgery will remove the part of the lung affected by cancer and some of the nearby lymph nodes. A very small portion of the affected part or the entire lung may be removed during surgery depending on the extent of disease.

Lung Cancer Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy for lung cancer may use multiple drugs which are usually given in combination. A decision about the drugs is taken based on the stage of the disease and the general condition of the patient. Chemotherapeutic drugs specifically attack the rapidly dividing cancer cells; but during chemotherapy the patient may experience some severe side effects because the drugs attack other body cells which are rapidly dividing. These include bone marrow, hair follicles, inner mucosal layer of the gastrointestinal tract etc. Chemotherapy is given to treat the disease systemically.

Radiotherapy for Lung Cancer

Radiotherapy is the local treatment for lung cancer. It is usually given externally using a machine which can generate radioactive rays. Patient may experience fatigue, swallowing difficulty and skin changes as side effects of external beam radiation therapy for lung.

Enhance the protective factors for Lung Cancer Prevention

Exercise: If you can maintain the weight appropriate for your height and age, you will be free of many of the diseases including cancer. The exact mechanism by which exercises aid in lung cancer prevention is not very clear. But it is known that exercises decrease the oxidative stress and reduce the inflammatory changes secondary to fat deposition.

Healthy diet: Include enough quantities of fresh vegetables and fruits in the diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables have lot of antioxidants in them which may help in lung cancer prevention.


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    • thumbi7 profile imageAUTHOR

      JR Krishna 

      3 years ago from India


      I am really sorry to hear that.

      Yes they may not present with all the symptoms. But you should be proud of yourself that you have tried your best for him. I would say, in a way, you were lucky to have 52 long years of married life:}

      Take care

    • moonlake profile image


      3 years ago from America

      My husband died from lung cancer and it matastisised to his brain. He had none of the symptoms you describe except for the cough. He tried all the nicotine alternatives, they didn't work for him. I tried to get him to stop smoking for years, 52 to be exact it never worked. I was turning into a nag with doctors constantly telling me to stop him from smoking, it was almost as if they put the blame onto me. I finally stopped nagging, what he did with his life was up to him not me. It's to bad he couldn't stop. I miss him every day. Interesting hub.

    • thumbi7 profile imageAUTHOR

      JR Krishna 

      4 years ago from India

      Hi Pro-Hubber,

      Thanks for stopping by

    • Pro-Hubber profile image


      4 years ago from Florida

      Nice hub and its informative. you never know the signs and symptoms of lung cancer until they are developed or, we should be careful and mindful when taking annual medical check up focusing more on cancer.

    • thumbi7 profile imageAUTHOR

      JR Krishna 

      6 years ago from India

      Hi Mesothelioma Help

      Thanks for the input

    • profile image

      Mesothelioma Help 

      6 years ago

      Great information.

      Many think asbestos is a thing of the past, but the truth is it can still be found in many places around the world and is a leading cause of lung cancer and mesothelioma.

      Thanks for sharing all this great information.

      Voted up

    • thumbi7 profile imageAUTHOR

      JR Krishna 

      6 years ago from India


      We should discourage people who smoke and use any other forms of tobacco.

      Thanks for the visit

    • alocsin profile image


      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Thank goodness smoking is becoming more and more socially unacceptable. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • thumbi7 profile imageAUTHOR

      JR Krishna 

      6 years ago from India

      Dear K Kiss,

      Try little harder.

      Lots of people have done it.

      You can do it!

    • K Kiss profile image

      K Kiss 

      6 years ago from Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

      thanks for your prompt reply thumbi7. I do know all the pitfalls and yet..oh well it is hard to give up years of practice.

    • thumbi7 profile imageAUTHOR

      JR Krishna 

      6 years ago from India

      Dear K Kiss,

      My sincere request to you is to stop smoking as early as possible.

      Believe in YOURSELF. You can do it.

      You are too young to waste life on cigarettes.

      Your tonsillitis and cough could be due to some other reason as well.

      But please get yourself checked to rule out.

      Take care

    • K Kiss profile image

      K Kiss 

      6 years ago from Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

      thumbi7 thanks for sharing your knowledge with us. I am 23 and have been smoking since 16 on and off and became a regular and to some extent a chain smoker since 20. Reading your hub is really making me think but don't know whether it will be possible to stop right away. In the past 6 months I had tonsil problems and cough about 8/9 times. Should I be worried?

    • thumbi7 profile imageAUTHOR

      JR Krishna 

      6 years ago from India

      @Dahlia Flower

      It is a good move from the Canadian govt. to ban smoking in companies and public places.

      Thanks for the visit and comment

    • Dahlia Flower profile image

      Dahlia Flower 

      6 years ago from Canada

      This is good information for any of us. I'm especially happy to be reminded that second-hand smoke can be dangerous to people. Here in Canada it is not legal for companies to allow smoking in their workplaces.

    • thumbi7 profile imageAUTHOR

      JR Krishna 

      6 years ago from India


      Encourage your husband to stop smoking as early as possible.

      He can do it with the help of nicotine alternatives.

      I am sorry to hear about the loss of your relative.

      Thanks for SHARING.

    • moonlake profile image


      6 years ago from America

      If you are a smoker you should get a CT scan. The scan will find cancer in the early stages where an x-ray won’t. My husband smokes and I insisted he have a CT scan. Doctor agreed but the doctor said the biggest problem, people get the CT scan and when spots are found they won't let the doctors do anything about it. My husband’s scan was clear.

      His sister died from lung cancer at 56. We have had friends die from this awful disease that never smoked.

      Good Hub.

    • thumbi7 profile imageAUTHOR

      JR Krishna 

      6 years ago from India


      I am sorry to hear about your loss. Lung cancer is a very bad disease which is preventable. Good that you encouraged your father to stop smoking.

      Thanks for sharing

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 

      6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      It's so sad that the number of smokers are growing. Worse, they are getting younger. IN the Philippines taxes for cigarettes are higher. I think this is a good move. However, it is not enough. Family and friends must help each other get rid of the habit. My dad used to smoke but we all encouraged him stop. Now, it's been more than a decade since his last puff.

      I've lost family because of cancer and it's not a pretty sight. I know how hard and costly it can be.

      I hope your hub reaches many. You can count on me to help spread the word through your hub.

    • thumbi7 profile imageAUTHOR

      JR Krishna 

      6 years ago from India


      Exposure to asbestos is still considered a risk factor for lung cancer.

      In India, you will still get buildings with asbestos roof.

      Thanks for the visit:)

    • Ruchira profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      An informative hub, Thumbi7.

      Earlier asbestos was also a reason but, now that metal is hardly seen.

      Voted up as useful

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 

      6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Very informative hub. Excellent information for everyone, whether they actually smoke or not. Voted up and useful.

    • thumbi7 profile imageAUTHOR

      JR Krishna 

      6 years ago from India

      @WD Curry 111

      Thanks for the visit and comment. I thought it will be good to show some prodcuts on vegetable seeds to emphasise the importance of eating fruits and vegetables

      @M. Dasgupta

      Thanks for the comment

    • WD Curry 111 profile image

      WD Curry 111 

      6 years ago from Space Coast

      This is a very informative hub. It is rich with information and food for thought. There is even food for the body. It is a good idea to grow our own vegetables. Even urban dwellers can grow their own in planters. Not only do they have more flavor straight from the earth, they do not lose nutritional value, either. Great work.


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