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Serious Medicine. Extraordinary Care.

What Can I Do If I’m At Risk for Lung Cancer?

The best thing you can do to help lower your chance for developing lung cancer is to try to avoid as many of the risks as possible.

Have your home checked for radon.

Nonsmokers can benefit from never starting to smoke and from staying away from those who do.

Most important--don't smoke. Since it's known that smoking tobacco causes most cases of lung cancer, if you do smoke, you'll benefit from quitting as soon as possible.

When you quit smoking, your risk for getting cancer gets lower over time. Stopping smoking also greatly reduces your risk of getting many other cancers. These include cancers of the bladder, pancreas, larynx (voice box), mouth, esophagus, and cervix. There are many ways to quit smoking. If you want to quit, talk with your doctor or nurse about creating a plan to stop and to find out what resources are available.

Eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables may also help reduce your risk of lung cancer. Some evidence suggests that fruits and vegetables may help protect against lung cancer in both smokers and nonsmokers. But any effect on risk would be much less than the effects of smoking.

Avoiding exposure to known cancer-causing chemicals, such as asbestos and diesel exhaust (in the workplace and elsewhere), may also be helpful. If you work where these exposures are common, they should be kept to a minimum.