Lung Cancer

The Top 5 Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself Against Lung Cancer

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: lung cancer is one of the most aggressive and deadliest of all cancers. It’s the leading cancer killer in the United States, affecting about 1 in 13 men and 1 in 16 women.

But here’s the silver lining – lung cancer is highly preventable.

What is Lung Cancer?

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is a disease that causes the growth of abnormal cells in the tissues on your lungs, and it usually affects the air passages of both lungs.

What are the Symptoms?

Lung Cancer Man

When the cancer cells get big and start to spread, a person may experience bloody coughs, breathing difficulties, loss of appetite, fatigue and recurring infections. Left untreated, it is almost always fatal.

Who’s at Risk?


Those who are at the highest risk for lung cancer include:

  • Smokers (cigarettes, cigars, pipes)
  • Quienes tienen antecedentes familiares de cáncer de pulmón.
  • Personas con exposición prolongada al humo de segunda mano (humo de cigarrillos que otra gente fuma).
  • Anyone who’s ever been exposed to chemicals such as radon, asbestos, diesel
    exhaust, and other workplace chemicals

When we say that people are at a higher risk for a disease, we mean that those people, due to some combination of lifestyle or family history, may be vulnerable. However, having several risk factors does not mean that you’ll get the disease – but 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.

The Five Best Ways to Protect Yourself

Lung cancer has been called one of the most preventable cancers – because 80% to 90% of all cases are related to cigarette smoking. Here are a few of the ways you can cut your risk for this deadly disease.

1. Don’t Smoke – or if You Smoke, Quit

Break Cigars

Smoking is the #1 factor for getting lung cancer, and there is no such thing as a “safe cigarette.” Even those that are advertised as low-tar, “light,” or menthol still have all the same cancer-causing chemicals.

Quitting smoking can drastically reduce your risks – in some cases, it can cut your risks in half. Ask your doctor for information on how break the habit for good.

2. Avoid Secondhand Smoke

No Smoking

Whenever and wherever you can, stay away from other people’s cigarettes, cigars, or pipes and make your home smoke free

3. Test Your Home for Radon

Test Your Home for Radon

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that comes from rocks and dirt that can get trapped in houses and other buildings. You don’t need a specialist to test your home or building: many home improvement stores carry radon testing kits. Every year, the California Department of Public Health makes free radon testing kits available. Sign up to get one for 2019 or if you live in a rental property, ask your landlord.

4. Get Tested if You’re at Risk

Get Tested if You’re at Risk

If you’re a smoker, have a history of lung cancer in your family, or work with industrial chemicals, you should definitely talk to your doctor about testing options.

Early detection of lung cancer can be life-saving. The sooner your doctor identifies it the better they’re able to offer the right treatment.

5. Eat a Healthy Diet

Eat a Healthy Diet

This is great advice, even if you’re not at risk. 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.

So, take a deep breath…there are so many ways to protect yourself from lung cancer, and AltaMed is right behind you!

Get started with AltaMed

See how AltaMed Health Services can help your family grow healthy.

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Woman Smiling at 50

Health Screenings After 50

Even if you’ve lived a healthy life, as you enter your 50s, your risk of developing chronic diseases, such as arthritis, heart conditions, cancer, diabetes, and even depression increases. These diseases can take years off your life, as well as affect the quality of your life.

Getting regular screenings can help you:

  • Lower your risk of chronic disease or illness
  • Save money on your medical costs, since chronic diseases require additional medical care
  • Delay or prevent illness or disease by catching them early and treating them

Basically, there’s every reason for you to take charge of your health, especially since most preventive services and screenings are covered by most insurance plans, including Medicaid and Medicare!

Know What Tests You Need

These are a few of the most common screenings you need starting at age 50:

  • Women should get a mammogram every 2 years
  • Colorectal cancer screenings every year
  • Regular diabetes screenings
  • Lipid disorder screenings to monitor blood cholesterol
  • Osteoporosis screenings should start at age 60 to screen for healthy bones

The best way to stay healthy and keep up on your screenings is to get regular health checkups. Depending on your gender and your family health history, your doctor may recommend additional screenings for you.

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

Woman testing blood

Get the Basics About Diabetes Prevention

Did you know that one out of every three people in the United States has diabetes, pre-diabetes, or dangerous levels of insulin resistance? You can combat diabetes or avoid it all together by living a healthy lifestyle and getting routine checkups. Learn how to stay healthy and check your risks.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that weakens your body’s ability to convert sugar into energy. Normally, your pancreas produces a hormone called insulin to help stabilize the amount of sugar in your blood. When someone has diabetes, their body can’t make enough insulin or the body is no longer responsive to the insulin made, which leads to a dangerous amount of sugar in the bloodstream. As a result, people with diabetes are at greater risk of heart disease, kidney failure, stroke, and vision loss.

These are the most common types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes is more serious (and rare):

  • Typically develops during childhood but can begin at any age
  • Can’t be cured or prevented
  • Requires insulin injections, usually at every meal or snack
  • Also requires frequent checking of blood sugar levels

Type 2 Diabetes is preventable but still serious (and is very common):

  • Is most common in adults over the age of 45, but now we are starting to see it at younger ages.
  • Is related to obesity/overweight, poor diet, lack of physical activity, and family history
  • Usually requires oral medication or a daily insulin injection
  • Can be cured with a healthy lifestyle!

Stay Proactive, Stay Healthy!

Whether you’ve been told you’re pre-diabetic or you’re managing diabetes, a healthy lifestyle will help prevent complications and reduce the impact the disease can have on your life – and a healthy lifestyle can also help you prevent diabetes in the first place. Here are some ways to lower your risks and manage your long-term health.

Get Tested Regularly

Doctor and Patient Smiling

Blood sugar and cholesterol checks, kidney tests, foot and eye exams, and blood pressure screenings can help prevent or delay health complications.

Stay Active

Family with a Ball

Besides helping you keep your risks in check, regular exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight and fight/manage stress. Find something you enjoy and start small: go for a brisk walk, dance along to music, garden, take fitness classes, or even follow an exercise video. If you’ve never exercised before, these tips can give you a healthy head start.

If you have diabetes, carry a healthy snack in case your blood sugar drops, and be sure to check your blood sugar levels before and after you exercise.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Family Preparing a Salad

Eating well is important for diabetes prevention and control. Choosing a variety of healthy foods gives your body the nutrition and energy it needs.

  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Whenever possible swap fried for grilled foods.
  • Drink water instead of sweetened or sugary beverages (like soda, diet soda and juice).
  • Learn which foods are high in carbohydrates (e.g. tortillas, potatoes, and rice) so that you can eat these in moderation.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Avoid smoking.

You should also manage your meal portions and monitor your sugar levels. You may need to work with your doctor and/or dietitian to create a meal plan that works for you.

Look for Signs and Take Action

Magnifier Over Colorful Background

If you start to experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor immediately.

  • Being constantly thirsty or hungry all the time with no explanation can be a sign of diabetes.
  • Frequent infections and slow-healing cuts are red flags that you possibly have a condition affecting your immune system, such as diabetes.
  • Tingling in your hands and feet may be a sign of diabetes-related poor blood flow and of nerve damage. If you act early, the effects may only be temporary.
  • Changes in vision, including not being able to focus, or blurred vision can be a sign of diabetes. If you have diabetes, make it a point to get your vision checked regularly and let your doctor know your condition.

How AltaMed Can Help if You Have Diabetes

At AltaMed, we offer a wide range of onsite services, including blood sugar testing, retinal eye exams, and free health education classes. AltaMed pharmacists can help you manage your medications. AltaMed registered dietitians can help you with healthy eating habits. To learn more, or to make an appointment, call us at (888) 499-9303.

The Top 5 Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself Against Lung Cancer