Reducing Risks of Lung Cancer

by Katelyn Schwanke
(last updated September 5, 2008)

Lung cancer is the top cancer-related killer of men in America and the second cancer-related killer of women. What is lung cancer and how can you avoid it? Understanding what it is in combination with a few basic precautionary measures can help you from becoming part of the tragic number of people who die from its terrible effects.

Lung cancer is caused by an abnormal growth of cells on the lung tissue. The major risk of lung cancer is that these cells can break off from lung tissue and enter surrounding tissues. When mutated, cancerous cells enter surrounding tissues, these tissues can become infected and cancerous. Beyond the risk of premature death, lung cancer can inhibit your lung capacity (how much air you can bring into your lungs when you breath) and cause chronic, painful coughing.

You are not helpless against lung cancer. In fact, following a few basic rules can help you to reduce your risk and live a happy, healthy life. There are two major causes of lung cancer that you can do something about: smoking and viruses.

Quitting smoking is the first key to reduce your risk of lung cancer. When you smoke, the tobacco that is inhaled causes blackening of lung tissue and ultimately growth of cancerous cells. Eighty-seven percent of lung cancer is caused by mainstream smoke. Mainstream smoke is direct inhalation of cigarette smoke. Mainstream smoke results in a phenomenon called side-stream smoke, which is smoke that is not inhaled by the smoker but that drifts into air being breathed by non smokers. If you live or work with smokers, your risk of developing lung cancer increases by twenty to thirty percent. By helping to establish no smoking zones at your workplace or in your home you can reduce your risk.

Believe it or not, being careful about sexual practices and partners can help reduce your risk of lung cancer. Certain viruses, including human paillomavirus, can increase your risk of lung cancer. Human paillomavirus is sexually transmitted and can cause warts to grow both in genital areas and lung tissue. Protecting yourself and your partner will reduce your risk.

If you have any further questions about how you can reduce your risk of lung cancer, speak to your physician.

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