The Most Common Form of Lung Cancer and How to Prevent It

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, about 80 to 85 percent of lung cancers are NSCLC. We may not know what exactly causes each case of lung cancer, but we do know the risk factors and how to prevent it.

Preventative measures:

  • Maintain a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables.
  • Stay away from radon, a radioactive gas commonly found in homes that aren’t tested or treated.
  • Get an annual lung cancer CT screening test.
  • Limit your exposure to cancer-causing chemicals.
  • Avoid the risk of smoking and/or acquiring secondhand smoke.

Knowing more about the risks associated with smoking can help you takes steps to decrease your risk of developing lung cancer.

The leading cause of lung cancer is smoking, and more than half of lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking and secondhand smoke. Even worse, smokers may be exposed to higher risk factors like radon and asbestos in their lungs. However, many people with lung cancer were never smokers at all.

Non-smokers who are exposed to high amounts of radon, secondhand smoke and/or air pollution are at risk for getting lung cancer. In some cases, lung cancer in non-smokers may be the result of having certain gene changes that aren’t apparent in tumors found in smokers.

Another preventative measure is getting an annual CT screening, offered at Infirmary Health. In recent years, doctors have found a test that can be used to screen for lung cancer in people with a high risk of the disease. This test is a form of early detection which can lower the risk of dying from lung cancer.

The partners of Live Better Together at Infirmary Health now offer a low-dose CT lung cancer screening program for early diagnosis of the disease. The CT lung cancer screening can detect lung cancer early before symptoms occur, which increases the likelihood of survival. The CT technology at Infirmary Health only uses an eighth of the amount of radiation as that of a standard CT, so there is little risk in lung cancer screening.

For more information about lung cancer, visit Infirmary Health’s Cancer Care page.


American Cancer Society: “What is Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer”

Infirmary Health: “Low Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening Saves Lives”