Lung Cancer Prevention (PDQ�)
What is prevention?
To prevent new cancers from starting,
Some risk factors for cancer can be avoided, but many cannot. For example, both smoking and inheriting certain
Different ways to prevent cancer are being studied, including:
Changing lifestyle or eating habits.
Avoiding things known to cause cancer.
medicinesto treat a precancerous conditionor to keep cancer from starting.
General Information About Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the lung.
There are two types of lung cancer:
See the following
Lung Cancer Screening Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women.
More people die from lung cancer than from any other type of
The number of new cases and deaths from lung cancer is highest in black men.
Lung Cancer Prevention
Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may help prevent lung cancer.
The following are risk factors for lung cancer:
Cigarette, cigar, and pipe smoking
Studies have shown that smoking low tar or low
Studies also show that the risk of lung cancer from smoking cigarettes increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day and the number of years smoked. People who smoke have about 20 times the risk of lung cancer compared to those who do not smoke.
Being exposed to
Environmental risk factors
Radonis a radioactivegas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil. It seeps up through the ground, and leaks into the air or water supply. Radon can enter homes through cracks in floors, walls, or the foundation, and levels of radon can build up in the home.
Studies show that high levels of radon gas inside homes and other buildings increase the number of new cases of lung cancer and the number of deaths caused by lung cancer. The risk of lung cancer is higher in smokers exposed to radon than in nonsmokers exposed to radon. In people who have never smoked, about 30% of deaths caused by lung cancer have been linked to being exposed to radon.
Air pollution: Some studies have shown a link between air pollution and an increased risk of lung cancer.
Workplace exposure : Studies have shown a link between being exposed to the following substances and an increased risk of lung cancer:
Tar and soot.
These substances can cause lung cancer in people who are exposed to them in the workplace and have never smoked. The risk of lung cancer is higher in people who are exposed and also smoke.
Beta carotene supplements in heavy smokers
It is not clear if the following increases the risk of lung cancer:
The following are protective factors for lung cancer:
The best way to prevent lung cancer is to not smoke.
Smokers can decrease their risk of lung cancer by quitting. In smokers who have been treated for lung cancer, quitting smoking lowers the risk of new lung cancers.
In a person who has quit smoking, the chance of preventing lung cancer depends on how many years and how much the person smoked and the length of time since quitting. After a person has quit smoking for 10 years, the risk of lung cancer decreases 30% to 50%.
See the following for more information on quitting smoking:
Smoking Home Page (Includes help with quitting)
Cigarette Smoking: Health Risks and How to Quit
Lower exposure to workplace risk factors
Laws that protect workers from being exposed to cancer-causing substances, such as asbestos, arsenic, nickel, and chromium, may help lower their risk of developing lung cancer. Laws that prevent smoking in the workplace help lower the risk of lung cancer caused by secondhand smoke.
Lower exposure to radon
Lowering radon levels may lower the risk of lung cancer, especially among cigarette smokers. High levels of radon in homes may be reduced by taking steps to prevent radon leakage, such as sealing basements.
It is not clear if the following decrease the risk of lung cancer:
Some studies show that people who eat high amounts of fruits or vegetables have a lower risk of lung cancer than those who eat low amounts. However, since smokers tend to have less healthy
Some studies show that people who are physically active have a lower risk of lung cancer than people who are not. However, since smokers tend to have different levels of physical activity than nonsmokers, it is hard to know if physical activity affects the risk of lung cancer.
The following do not decrease the risk of lung cancer:
Beta carotene supplements in nonsmokers
Studies of nonsmokers show that taking
Vitamin E supplements
Studies show that taking
Cancer prevention clinical trials are used to study ways to prevent cancer.
The purpose of some cancer prevention clinical trials is to find out whether actions people take can prevent cancer. These may include eating fruits and vegetables, exercising, quitting smoking, or taking certain
New ways to prevent lung cancer are being studied in clinical trials.
Clinical trials are taking place in many parts of the country. Information about clinical trials can be found in the Clinical Trials section of the NCI Web site. Check NCI's
Get More Information From NCI
For more information, U.S. residents may call the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) Cancer Information Service toll-free at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time. A trained Cancer Information Specialist is available to answer your questions.
The NCI's LiveHelp� online chat service provides Internet users with the ability to chat online with an Information Specialist. The service is available from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday. Information Specialists can help Internet users find information on NCI Web sites and answer questions about cancer.
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Search the NCI Web site
The NCI Web site provides online access to information on cancer, clinical trials, and other Web sites and organizations that offer support and resources for cancer patients and their families. For a quick search, use the search box in the upper right corner of each Web page. The results for a wide range of search terms will include a list of "Best Bets," editorially chosen Web pages that are most closely related to the search term entered.
There are also many other places to get materials and information about cancer treatment and services. Hospitals in your area may have information about local and regional agencies that have information on finances, getting to and from treatment, receiving care at home, and dealing with problems related to cancer treatment.
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Changes to This Summary (10/07/2011)
Changes were made to this summary to match those made to the health professional version.
Questions or Comments About This Summary
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PDQ is a comprehensive cancer database available on NCI's Web site.
PDQ is the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) comprehensive cancer information database. Most of the information contained in PDQ is available online at NCI's Web site. PDQ is provided as a service of the NCI. The NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health, the federal government's focal point for biomedical research.
PDQ contains cancer information summaries.
The PDQ database contains summaries of the latest published information on cancer prevention, detection, genetics, treatment, supportive care, and complementary and alternative medicine. Most summaries are available in two versions. The health professional versions provide detailed information written in technical language. The patient versions are written in easy-to-understand, nontechnical language. Both versions provide current and accurate cancer information.
The PDQ cancer information summaries are developed by cancer experts and reviewed regularly.
Editorial Boards made up of experts in oncology and related specialties are responsible for writing and maintaining the cancer information summaries. The summaries are reviewed regularly and changes are made as new information becomes available. The date on each summary ("Date Last Modified") indicates the time of the most recent change.
PDQ also contains information on clinical trials.
A clinical trial is a study to answer a scientific question, such as whether a certain drug or nutrient can prevent cancer. Trials are based on past studies and what has been learned in the laboratory. Each trial answers certain scientific questions in order to find new and better ways to help cancer patients and those who are at risk for cancer. During prevention clinical trials, information is collected about the effects of a new prevention method and how well it works. If a clinical trial shows that a new method is better than one currently being used, the new method may become "standard." People who are at high risk for a certain type of cancer may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial.
Listings of clinical trials are included in PDQ and are available online at NCI's Web site. Descriptions of the trials are available in health professional and patient versions. Many cancer doctors who take part in clinical trials are also listed in PDQ. For more information, call the Cancer Information Service 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).