How much lung cancer is actually attributable to cigarettes? It turns out, quite a bit: About 85 percent of lung cancer patients are smokers or former smokers, Dr. Mohammad Jahanzeb, a lung cancer expert at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, told Fox News. Yet, that means 15 percent haven’t regularly puffed on them.
To learn the best ways to reduce your risk of non-smoker’s lung cancer, Fox News spoke to Jahanzeb and Dr. Normal Edelman, a senior scientific advisor at the American Lung Association, for their tips on reducing the risk of lung cancer:
1. Stay away from secondhand smoke.
Both Jahanzeb and Edelman advised staying away from smokers to limit exposure to dangerous cigarette smoke.
2. Don’t switch to a potentially harmful cigarette substitute.
If you’re a smoker, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that, by switching to snuff, e-cigarettes, or some other alternative, you’ll be making a healthier choice, Edelman said. Snuff can still cause cancer of the mouth, and e-cigarettes are still fairly new — meaning we don’t know whether, in 20 years, we might find they actually do cause certain harmful effects.
3. Be aware of occupational risks — and take care to avoid them.
Be aware if you’re in an occupation that exposes you to certain risk factors for lung cancer, Edeman advised, and make sure to follow all safety protocols. For instance, asbestos can sometimes contribute to lung cancer — and while it’s now banned in the United States, those in construction who are tearing down old buildings may be at risk of some exposure.
4. Get screened early.
Those who have smoked for a long time, such as 20 years, should go in for regular CT scans, Jahanzeb said. He explained that such scans are six times more sensitive than chest X-rays, and that lung cancer mortality can be decreased by as much as 20 percent if the cancer is detected early on.
5. Practice healthy habits.
Vitamins won’t be the magic bullet in reducing lung cancer risk — Jahanzeb noted that studies on the effects of vitamins A, Vitamin E, and selenium showed no protective benefits of these substances.
However, “like everything else in the world, live a good clean life,” Edelman said. Eat a good diet full of antioxidants (like the kind found in green leafy vegetables), exercise, and make sure to get enough sleep.