Necessary steps for lung cancer prevention

Research continues to show that the most common cause for lung cancer is the use of tobacco. Lung cancer typically develops over a long period of time. The first pre-cancerous changes that form in the lungs mutate and produce chemicals that result in the formation of new blood vessels. These blood vessels nurture the cancer cells. The cancer cells grow together and form a tumor. These cancer cells have the ability to easily spread to other parts of our body even before the cancer is detected. This process is known as metastasis and is one of the main reasons why lung cancer is so fast moving and life-threatening.

Lung cancers are classified as small-cell lung cancers and non-small-cell lung cancers. Non-small-cell lung cancer is further divided into three types, known as squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma. In the United States alone, about 213,380 people are estimated to be suffering from lung cancer, with nearly 160,390 deaths occurring in the year 2007. Current data shows that lung cancer accounts for 29% of all cancer deaths. About one-third of cancer and 80% of lung cancer are caused by the usage of tobacco, either directly or indirectly.

Lung cancer prevention methods are very important because of the difficulty to detect lung cancer until it is in an advanced stage, when treatments are really not effective. A few simple steps have the potential to prevent the incidence of lung cancer. Smoking and the use of tobacco products should be completely avoided or stopped. Data reveals that long-term cessation of smoking reduces the incidence of lung cancer by over 50%. Exposure to radon gas and other carcinogens like petroleum products should be avoided.

A healthy diet consisting of more vegetables and fruits is highly recommended. Nowadays, many governments have initiated active anti-smoking programs and advertising campaigns because of the strain on the health care system that tobacco products add to it. Many of them also impose high taxes on tobacco products to discourage tobacco users. Several nations have enacted strict laws towards smoking in public places including workplaces and for restricting tobacco access to minors. Studies reveal that smoking bans in workplaces effectively reduce the exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) by 72%. Mass media anti-tobacco campaigns reduce the initiation of new persons to tobacco, decrease tobacco consumption, and increase cessation of tobacco. A sustained multi-pronged approach alone could create mass awareness about lung cancer prevention. When more and more people realize the harm caused by tobacco, consumption would decline and the effects on lung cancer cases would be immense as well as other health concerns like heart disease, stroke and hypertension.

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