Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the United States and across the world. This Lung Cancer Awareness Month, help your employees understand their risk factors and promote preventative primary care to help them look after their long-term health.
LUNG CANCER RISK FACTORS
According to data from the National Cancer Institute, 235,760 patients will be diagnosed with lung and bronchus cancer and 131,880 patients will die of the disease in the United States in 2021. Here are the most common risk factors for lung cancer:
Smoking: Tobacco use is the leading risk factor for lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, about 80% of lung cancer deaths are thought to be a result of smoking. The risk of lung cancer for people who smoke is many times higher than for people who don’t smoke and the longer and more you smoke, the greater your risk of developing lung cancer.
Exposure to secondhand smoke: Even if an individual is not a smoker, inhaling secondhand smoke (breathing in the smoke of others) also increases the risk of developing lung cancer.
Exposure to radon: Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that results from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks. Indoors, radon can be more concentrated than outdoors — breathing it in may expose the lungs to small amounts of radiation and increase the potential risk of lung cancer.
Exposure to asbestos: People who work mines, mills, textile plants, or other places where insulation is used are at risk of being exposed to asbestos. Government regulations have largely reduced the use of asbestos in commercial and industrial products, but it may still be present in many older homes and buildings.
Exposure to other carcinogens in the workplace: Workers who come into contact with uranium, diesel exhaust, and inhaled chemicals like arsenic, coal products, nickel compounds, and more may increase one’s risk of lung cancer.
There are some risk factors that individuals can’t mitigate, such as previous radiation therapy to the lungs, air pollution, or a personal or family history of lung cancer. If an individual or a close family member like a sibling or parent has had lung cancer, there is a slightly higher potential for getting lung cancer.
HOW PRIMARY CARE PROVIDERS CAN HELP
Primary care providers are a great resource for anyone looking to eliminate tobacco use. Encourage your employees to reach out to their providers to learn more about smoking cessation programs and other methods of support.
This blog is intended to be informational in nature. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.
If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your Care Team or other healthcare provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any linked materials.