Lung cancer is the most significant cause of worldwide cancer deaths, with 1.8 million people dying from lung cancer in 2020. However, it is also one of the most preventable types of cancer. This article will outline six of the most effective ways to prevent lung cancer in men.
Who Is Most at Risk of Lung Cancer?
Those who smoke cigarettes are the most at risk of developing lung cancer, and according to the CDC, cigarette smoke is linked to 80-90% of lung cancer deaths. People who smoke tobacco are 15-30 times more likely to develop lung cancer. Studies have found that men are consistently more likely to get lung cancer than women, but lifestyle changes offer ways to prevent lung cancer in men.
Symptoms of Lung Cancer in Men
Unfortunately, symptoms of lung cancer in men are typically vague or not very pronounced until the disease has advanced.
Symptoms of lung cancer may include:
- A new cough that doesn’t go away after 2-3 weeks or a cough that keeps getting worse
- Recurring chest infections
- Coughing up blood
- Shortness of breath
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Chest pain or an ache when coughing
- Losing weight without trying
How to Prevent Lung Cancer
While there is no guaranteed lung cancer prevention, there are lifestyle changes that you can make to reduce your risk of developing the condition.
6 Ways to Prevent Lung Cancer in Men:
1. Quit Smoking
As mentioned above, the CDC has revealed that those who smoke are 15-30 times more likely to develop lung cancer, so quitting smoking will dramatically reduce your risk. Even if you’ve smoked for years, stopping smoking can help to reduce your risk. If you need support quitting smoking, consider these stop smoking strategies, or speak to your doctor.
2. Avoid Second-hand Smoke
If you live or work with a smoker, ask them to smoke outside (or to quit altogether).
3. Test Your Home for Radon Exposure
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer, but you can’t see or smell it. Testing is the only way to be sure, so if you live in an area where radon is known to be a problem, test the radon levels in your home. However, the CDC recommends that every home be regularly tested for radon. If your home has high radon levels, these can be addressed to make your home safer.
4. Avoid Carcinogens
A carcinogen is a toxic substance, organism, or agent that can cause cancer. If you use chemicals at work, take precautions to protect yourself. For example, use face masks to prevent yourself from breathing in fumes.
5. Fill Your Diet with Fruits and Vegetables
Opt for a healthy, well-balanced diet filled with fruits and vegetables. When it comes to your vitamins and nutrients, food sources are often better for you than supplements. Some evidence suggests that specific vitamins, for example, vitamins E and D, contribute to the prevention of lung cancer.
6. Increase Your Daily Activity
You should get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Getting movement into your daily activities, even low-impact activities such as gardening or walking your dog, adds up. If you don’t regularly exercise, start slowly and increase your activity over time to avoid injury.
Lung Cancer Risk Factors: What Are the Top 3 Causes of Lung Cancer in Men?
As we’ve noted above, several risk factors may increase the risk of lung cancer in men.
The top three causes of lung cancer in men are:
- Smoking (or second-hand smoke)
- Exposure to radon gas
- Exposure to toxic carcinogens, such as asbestos, arsenic, chromium, and nickel
Is Lung Cancer Highly Preventable?
Lung cancer in men is considered one of the most preventable cancers, as smoking is responsible for 80-90% of lung cancer in men. Therefore, quitting smoking could reduce a significant amount of lung cancer diagnoses.
When to See a Doctor
If you have any persistent symptoms listed above and are concerned, consider speaking with your doctor or primary health provider. Additionally, if you’ve attempted to quit smoking and have been unsuccessful, talk to your doctor as they can recommend stopping smoking strategies such as nicotine replacement products, counseling, and medication.