What is Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. If left untreated, this growth can spread beyond the lung via the blood or lymphatic system forming secondary tumours; a process called metastasis.

Can I prevent it?

Living a healthy lifestyle will dramatically reduce your chances of developing lung cancer, which is often caused by lifestyle factors. Protect your lungs with these steps:

  1. Stop smoking. The most common cause of lung cancer is long term exposure to tobacco smoke. Quitting can be hard but enlist the help of family and friends. It’s never too late to give up smoking and reap the benefits – patients who are still smoking at the time of their diagnosis have shorter survival times than those who have quit.
  2. Say no to other people’s smoke. Even if you don’t smoke passive smoking is a prominent cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Being with them while they inhale affects you too. New research suggests passive smoking causes 603,000 deaths a year worldwide. Try sitting in the non-smoking area of bars or restaurants and don’t allow people to smoke in your house or car, even if they are a close friend or relative.
  3. Understand what chemicals you are exposed to at work. Some manual and manufacturing jobs can involve breathing in substances which are bad for your lungs. If you think this could be happening to you, talk to your employer about protective equipment and research the risks so you can understand the effects of any chemicals you are exposed to.
  4. Exercise everyday, getting out of breath is good for you.
  5. Eat foods that are high in anti oxidants flavonoids quercetin and naringin.A recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, reported a correlation between high intake of dietary flavonoids and the reduced risk of lung cancer. The food sources that appeared to be best for lung protection are onions, apples and white grapefruit.

Learn more about nutrition and exercise.

How will I know if I do have it?

In its early stages lung cancer might not exhibit symptoms. The first symptom to develop is usually a cough. Others symptoms can include blood stained phlegm, weight loss, chest pains and being short of breath. If you are worried, make an appointment with your doctor.