Best way to avoid lung cancer? Quit smoking.

You may not know that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in Idaho. Other kinds of cancers certainly get a lot more attention, but we should all be aware of the risks. Smoking causes about 85 percent of lung cancer deaths in Idaho, but that leaves 15 percent that are not caused by smoking. And since November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, it’s important to understand what we can do to reduce our risk for developing this terrible disease.

Are there symptoms of lung cancer?

Symptoms can vary a lot for everyone, so they’re not very reliable. Some people don’t have symptoms at all, but others may have shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing that doesn’t go away and that might include blood, chest pain, fever, and weight loss.

Who is most at risk?

Everyone has the potential to develop lung cancer, but some people have a higher risk than others because of lifestyle choices (like choosing to smoke), environmental exposures (like radon), and family history. Current smokers or those who have smoked in the past are 10 to 20 times more likely to develop lung cancer than nonsmokers. Secondhand smoke also causes lung cancer – nationally about 38,000 nonsmokers die each year from secondhand smoke exposure. Continue reading

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