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A risk factor is something that increases your chances of developing cancer. Decreasing certain exposures may help lower your risk of lung cancer:

  • Quitting smoking is an important step in preventing most cancers, but none so much as lung cancer. In addition, for those who smoke, it takes the body longer to fight infections and heal wounds. The sooner smoking is stopped, the sooner the body can start to heal. Talk to your doctor about the options available to help you successfully quit. If you do not smoke, try to avoid smoking areas. Secondhand smoke has been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer.
  • Avoid or reduce cccupational exposure to certain chemicals—People who work in the coal industry, construction, or who are exposed to by-products of combustion may come into contact with harmful substances. If possible, try to find work in a different environment. If it is unavoidable, take steps to protect yourself from exposure. Check with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health or the Environmental Protection Agency about any available protective guidelines.
  • Avoid or reduce environmental exposure— Radon gas levels in your home can be measured by a professional or with a home test kit. If you use chemicals at home, wear a mask, gloves, goggles, and protective clothing. Using proper ventilation can also help reduce your exposure.

References:

Lung cancer (non-small cell). American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003115-pdf.pdf. Accessed July 26, 2016.

Lung cancer (small cell). American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003116-pdf.pdf. Accessed July 26, 2016.

Non-small cell lung cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 25, 2016. Accessed July 26, 2016.

Small cell lung cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 15, 2015. Accessed July 26, 2016.



Last reviewed September 2015 by Mohei Abouzied, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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