Lung Cancer Awareness Month: Make These Lifestyle Changes To Lower Your Risk
Let us understand some easy lifestyle modifications that can help us reduce the risk of getting diagnosed with or dying of lung cancer.
Lung cancer: Nearly 9 out of 10 lung cancers can be directly attributed to smoking.
November is observed as lung cancer awareness month. Lung cancer is the most common cancer and that is why it is extremely important to know about it. It is one of the few cancers that we may consider "preventable." Let us understand some easy lifestyle modifications that can help us reduce the risk of getting diagnosed with or dying of lung cancer.
Follow these to reduce the risk of lung cancer
1. Quit smoking and tobacco abuse:
Nearly 9 out of 10 lung cancers can be directly attributed to smoking. People who smoke are 15-30 times more likely to die of lung cancer. The most important safeguard against lung cancer is to not start smoking or quit if you smoke.
2. Avoid secondhand smoke:
Adults who don't smoke but are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or the workplace are noted to be at a 20%-30% increased risk of developing lung cancer. Make your home, car, and workplace smoke-free to protect your loved ones.
3. Protect yourself against environmental and workplace hazards:
Asbestos and Radon exposure are known carcinogens. Even prolonged exposure to fine airborne particulate matter (PM2.5) may increase the chances of developing respiratory ailments, including lung cancer. It is thus advisable to take proper precautions in order to prevent lung cancer.
4. Consider screening and health check-ups:
Yearly screening with a low-dose CT (LDCT) of the chest amongst heavy smokers over the age of 50 has been found to reduce the chances of death due to lung cancers. Smokers are thus strongly advised to consult an oncologist to seek eligibility for screening.
5. Healthy diet:
Maintaining a low weight within the healthy BMI range of 18.5-24.9 helps. Daily consumption of 30 grams of fiber and 400 grams of fruits and vegetables is strongly advocated to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, we need to avoid high-calorie items such as sugary drinks, fast food, and red and processed meat.
6. Regular exercise:
WHO recommends 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity every week as a strategy to stay fit. We need to be very cautious about increasing screen time because, inadvertently, it increases our sedentary time. Muscle-strengthening activities at moderate or greater intensity that involve all major muscle groups on two or more days a week may have additional health benefits.
(Dr. Shubham Jain, Consultant Surgical Oncology, HCMCT Manipal Hospital, Dwarka)
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