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November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, which serves as a time to raise awareness and understand the importance of lung health. According to the American Lung Association, in 2018 an estimated 234,030 new cases of lung cancer were expected to be diagnosed, representing about 13 percent of all cancer diagnoses. Lung cancer claims the lives of more people in the United States each year than colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. Edward Laub, MD, Internal Medicine shares his insight on how we can take better care of our lungs.
How can we be proactive about our lung health?
The importance of prevention followed by early detection is paramount. Don’t smoke. If you are a smoker, consider quitting. If you have a history of smoking, talk to your doctor about how often you should have your lungs checked. Once you stop smoking, you lungs can recover from the damage. Add aerobic exercise to help improve your lung capacity. Get annual check-ups. Regular check-ups help prevent diseases.
Can diet help?
Yes, by eating a healthy diet, rich with vegetables, fruits and whole grains and reducing sugar and refined carbohydrates, it can help reduce risk of developing serious health conditions.
Are there any vaccines you suggest?
Get vaccinated every year against influenza. Talk to your healthcare provider to find out if the pneumonia vaccine is right for you. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water to prevent infections.
I used to smoke. Should I be screened?
If you are between the ages of 55-80 and have a history of smoking, you may be eligible for a lung cancer screening. Lung disease often goes undetected until things turn serious. Early detection, with a low-dose CT screening, can decrease lung cancer death by 14 to 20 percent among high-risk populations. Screening individuals at high risk has the potential to dramatically improve lung cancer survival rates. Talk to your physician to see if you are a candidate for a lung screening.
—Dr. Edward B. Laub, Internal Medicine
This content is intended to encourage a healthy lifestyle. For medical advice and treatment, see a physician. Concerned about your health? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.