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Lung cancer

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Reducing your risk for lung cancer

You may lower your risk of developing lung cancer by doing the following.

Be a non-smoker and avoid second-hand smoke

Live smoke-free. Don’t use any tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, pipes or chewing tobacco.

If you smoke, get help to quit. There are many benefits of quitting. The younger you are when you quit, the greater the health benefits. Stopping smoking at any age lowers your risk for lung cancer.

Test your home for radon

Radon is present everywhere in Canada in different amounts and can accumulate in homes. The age of your home is not a good indicator of how high indoor radon levels could be.

The only way to know how much radon is in your home is to test. Take action to lower levels if they are high. Learn more about testing for radon and how to take action.

Protect yourself from carcinogens

Know what substances cause cancer. Find out if there are harmful products or substances in or around your home or workplace.

Avoid or lower your exposure to cancer-causing products. Use safer alternatives at home and ask for them to be used at work or school. Follow safety rules when working with chemicals and other hazardous substances (such as asbestos and pesticides). Ask for information and protective equipment when working with hazardous materials at work.

Take steps to lower your exposure to outdoor and indoor air pollution as much as possible. Try to reduce your own contribution to air pollution. Use experts to remove asbestos safely if you have it in your home.

Eat vegetables and fruit

Choose to have more vegetables and fruit in your diet. There is some evidence that eating a healthy diet that includes lots of vegetables, particularly cruciferous vegetables (such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts), and fruit may lower your risk of developing lung cancer. Follow Health Canada’s Food Guide.

Be physically active

Studies have shown that physical activity may lower the risk for lung cancer.

Find out if you should be screened for lung cancer

Smokers and former smokers have the highest risk of developing lung cancer. Finding lung cancer in these people before they show any symptoms might help lower their risk of dying from lung cancer.

Research shows that screening with computed tomography (CT) using lower doses of radiation (called low-dose CT) can find lung cancer early in people who have a history of heavy smoking. Talk to your doctor about your risk, and if there are any screening programs available in your province.

More information about reducing cancer risk

Learn about what you can do to reduce cancer risk.


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