Icon Medical Oncologist Dr Shang Yeap shares his tips on what you can do to ensure the prevention of lung cancer.
In Singapore, lung cancer is the third most common cancer in males and females. It is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in Singapore with 26.4% of cancer deaths in males and 15.7% in females1. It is important to understand that there are a number of modifiable health and lifestyle factors that can significantly help reduce the risk of lung cancer.
Smoking is the main cause of cancer
While there are many different risk factors for lung cancer, including age, high alcohol consumption, obesity, exposure to toxins such as asbestos, and a pre-existing history of lung disease, cigarette smoking carries a significantly higher risk of developing lung cancer compared to those who do not smoke. Your risk of lung cancer increases with every cigarette smoked but by stopping smoking, your risk of lung cancer will reduce by up to 90%.
Second-hand smoke is also a major risk factor among non-smokers. It is important to note that continued exposure to second-hand smoke will increase risk of lung cancer.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is vital
There are several lifestyle factors you can control to help reduce your risk of developing lung cancer. These include getting regular exercise, eating a healthy and balanced diet, reducing alcohol intake and maintaining a healthy weight. If you have cancer, or other medical conditions, it is important you talk to your doctor to ensure you keep to safe and suitable exercises. Regular exercise can boost your energy levels and improve your immune system to help protect you and keep you healthy.
Prioritise your health
As you age, the risk of developing lung cancer increases, with peopled aged 40 and above at higher risk. This is why it is important to regularly visit your doctor, and ask for an annual lung scan if you’re over 55-years-old and at risk of lung cancer. Although there are often no obvious symptoms of lung cancer during early stages, it is important to pay attention to changes in your body. Symptoms can include: persistent cough that worsens over time, blood in sputum, shortness of breath, recurring chest infection, consistent chest pain, loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss.
If you have a family history of lung cancer, it is important to maintain regular check-ups with your doctor as you may be at higher risk. If lung cancer is detected at an early stage this can significantly increase your chances of successful treatment, with up to 90% of Stage I lung cancer potentially curable.
For more information on lung cancer, click here.