What can I do?
Experts in Alberta agree that we can prevent about 85 out of 100 cases of lung cancer2. Here’s how:
Tobacco smoking is linked to about 76% of new cases. Tobacco has cancer-causing toxins (called carcinogens) that damage lung cells. Over time, the damaged cells can turn into cancer. You can lower your risk for lung cancer when you quit using tobacco or cut down.
Not being active enough is linked to about 21% of new cases. To prevent cancer, the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research recommend being active3 (e.g., brisk walking) for at least 30 minutes each day and limiting sedentary habits like watching television.
Being exposed to residential radon gas is linked to about 17% of new cases. Radon is a radioactive gas found naturally in the environment. It’s produced by the decaying uranium that’s normally found in soil, rocks, or water. Radon gas can be released into buildings that are built on bedrock. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified radon as a cause of lung cancer4. Exposure to radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. If you smoke and are also being exposed to radon gas, your risk of lung cancer is even higher.
Health Canada recommends that homes be tested for radon. You can either buy a do-it-yourself long-term radon test kit or hire a certified radon measurement professional. If the radon level in a home is high it can be easily fixed at a reasonable price. See Health Canada’s Radon Reduction Guide5 for more details.