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Preventive Care

Keep Your Lungs Clear of Cancer

Of all the cancers a person can get, lung cancer is the third most common behind skin cancer and prostate cancer for men, and breast cancer for women. However more people die of lung cancer than any other cancer according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death, accounting for almost 25% of all deaths. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.

The American Cancer Society estimates there will be about a quarter million new cases of lung cancer in 2022. Additionally, more than 130,000 people in the United States will die of lung cancer this year.

Thankfully, new cases have been on the decline along with the number of lung cancer deaths thanks in large part to the drop in smoking. Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer and the leading cause of death by lung cancer.

Smoker Woman

Who Is at Risk?

Lung cancer mainly occurs in older people. Most people diagnosed with lung cancer are 65 or older; a very small number of people diagnosed are younger than 45. The average age of people when diagnosed is about 70.

Smokers of cigarettes, cigars, and pipes are at the highest risk of developing lung cancer. Next are people who have been exposed to chemicals like radon, asbestos, diesel exhaust, and other workplace chemicals.

When we say, “higher risk,” we mean people who may be vulnerable due to some combination of lifestyle or family history. However, having several risk factors does not automatically mean someone will get the disease. Also, sometimes people with no risk factors can get a disease, as well. That’s why it’s so important to work with your doctor and get regular screenings.

Ways to Protect Yourself

Lung cancer has been called one of the most preventable cancers because 80% to 90% of cases are related to smoking. So, to reduce risk:

  1. Quit smoking or never start — There are no safe cigarettes and preliminary research shows vaping and e-cigarettes are just as bad if not worse.
  2. Avoid secondhand smoke — Stay away from smokers. Breathing in their smoke isn’t good for you.
  3. Test your home for radon — This naturally occurring gas from dirt and rocks can get trapped in buildings. Tests are available at home improvement stores and the California Department of Public Health makes free radon testing kits available.
  4. Get tested if you’re at risk — If you smoked, have a history of lung cancer in your family, or worked around industrial chemicals, talk to your doctor about the risks. Early detection can be lifesaving. 
  5. Eat a well-balanced diet — A healthy diet that’s low in sugars and fats but high in whole grain, lean protein, and fresh produce can also reduce your risks for heart disease, diabetes, a variety of other cancers, and so much more.

Breathe Easier

It helps to have a good relationship with your health care provider. We can connect you with a doctor who is focused on you and can provide you a lifetime of care, including the proper screenings to check for diseases like lung cancer. Depending on your personal and family health histories, your doctor may recommend additional screenings.

Contact AltaMed for more information about the health screenings you need at (888) 499-9303.

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Keep Your Lungs Clear of Cancer