A risk factor is anything that affects a person’s chance of developing a disease, like cancer. Lung cancer has very specific risk factors, many of which can be lowered by making some changes to your lifestyle. While having one or more risk factors does not guarantee that you will develop lung cancer, knowing that you are at risk may encourage you to make some very important changes.Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both lungs. As these abnormal cells grow, they can form tumors that prevent the lung from functioning properly. There are two types of lung cancer, non-small cell and small cell lung cancer. The majority of diagnosed cancers are categorized as non-small cell, which generally grows and spreads more slowly as compared to small cell lung cancer.According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the second most common cancer. Only prostate and breast cancer occur more often. Because of the prevalence of this disease, it is important to understand the behaviors you can alter to lower your risk.Smoking is by far the leading risk factor for developing this type of cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that 87 percent of lung cancer deaths are thought to be the result of smoking. Studies have shown that the longer you smoke and the more you smoke, the greater your chance of receiving a diagnosis. Cigarette, pipe, and cigar smoking all contribute equally to an increased risk of cancer.The good news is that quitting smoking before cancer develops allows your damaged lung tissue to gradually repair itself. No matter how many years you have been a smoker, quitting, especially before the age of 50, can drastically reduce your risk of dying from lung cancer within the next 15 years.Unfortunately, living with or spending time with a smoker can put you at risk as well. Exposure to secondhand smoke can be detrimental to your health. Employees who are exposed to smoke in their workplace also have a higher risk of developing this disease than those who work in a smoke-free environment.The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that radon exposure is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that cannot be seen, tasted, or smelled. When it is breathed in, it exposes the lungs to small amounts of radiation, possibly increasing a person’s risk of developing cancer. If you are concerned about the radon levels in your home, you can use a radon detection kit to determine if there is a problem.Your family history can play a role in determining your susceptibility to cancer. People who have a parent or sibling who has been diagnosed may have an elevated risk of developing this disease. Research is ongoing to determine the role that genetics play.Those workers who have been exposed to asbestos and other substances known to cause cancer, such as arsenic, chromium, nickel and tar, are at a high risk of developing this type of cancer, especially if they are smokers.People who tend to drink more than a moderate amount alcohol are at risk for lung cancer as well. You should limit yourself to no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks for men. Studies to determine what kinds of foods may lower your risk of developing this disease are ongoing.The best advice is to avoid those behaviors that put you at a high risk for lung cancer. If you are a smoker, there are a variety of resources available to help you stop. Visit your physician should you have any concerns.
What Is Cancer?According to our current medical model, cancer is a general term that describes a group of 100 unique diseases that share one common factor: uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. Our body naturally produces more cells when it needs them. For example, every person who has done muscle training or exercised regularly knows that his muscles have become larger. However, we would not call the extra cell tissues that the body forms in response to an increased need for muscle power to be an abnormal growth or tumor. However, if cells begin to divide without an apparent need for more cells, they will form an excess mass of tissue which is considered a tumor. If the tumor is ‘malignant’, doctors refer to it as cancerous.For as long as the basic underlying mechanisms leading up to cancer are not known and dealt with properly, cancer will remain a mystery disease. Cancer is a puzzling phenomenon that has (falsely) been labeled an ‘autoimmune disease’, a disease that allegedly turns the body against itself. The truth is far from that. The body has been designed to sustain its life for as long as possible. Even the so-called ‘death gene’ has only one purpose, that is, to keep the body from self-destructing. Death genes are there to make sure cells die at the end of their normal lifespan and are replaced with new ones.If the body is designed to live and not to destroy itself, why then would it suddenly allow the growth of extra cell tissue and kill itself? This does not make any sense at all. The main obstacle to finding real cures for cancer is that modern cancer treatment is rooted in the false assumption that the body sometimes tries to destroy itself. Medical students are trained to understand the mechanism of disease development, but they are left in the dark concerning the origins of disease. Viewed superficially, to the students, an illness appears to be something destructive and harmful to the body. Seen from a deeper perspective, however, the same illness is but an attempt by the body to cleanse and heal itself, or at least, to prolong its life.Since the medical textbooks offer few insights into the true causes of illness, it is understandable that the majority of doctors today believe that the body has self-destructive, and even suicidal abilities or tendencies. Claiming to be non-superstitious and objective, they inadvertently admit that certain cells suddenly decide to malfunction, become malicious, and randomly attack other cells and organs in the body. Based on this purely subjective and unsubstantiated belief, the doctor and his patient alike become almost obsessed with trying to protect the body from itself. Yet despite such undisputed notions of ‘truth’, none of this means that the body does, in fact, attempt or cause its own destruction. Would it actually astound you if I told you that cancer has never killed a person?Wisdom of the Cancer CellsCancer cells are not part of a malicious disease process. When cancer cells ‘spread’ (metastasize), it is not their purpose or goal to disrupt the body’s vital functions, infect healthy cells, and obliterate their host (the body). Self-destruction is not the theme of any cell unless, of course, it is old, worn-out, and ready to be turned-over. It has never been proven that cancer cells move around the body and indiscriminately form new colonies of cancer cells throughout the body. Rather, new colonies may grow for the same reasons the previous ones did. Cancer cells, like all other cells, know that if the body dies, they will die as well.Just because most doctors and patients assume that cancer cells are out to destroy the body does not mean that cancer cells actually have such a purpose or ability. A cancerous tumor is neither the cause of progressive destruction nor does it actually lead to the death of the body. There is nothing in a cancer cell that even remotely has the ability to kill anything. If you asked people walking in the street if they knew how cancer kills people, you would probably not get one definite, correct answer. Ask the same question of doctors and you may not get a much better result. You are unlikely to hear that cancer doesn’t kill anyone.Contrary to hearsay, what eventually leads to the demise of an organ or the entire body is the wasting away of healthy cell tissue, which results from a continued deprivation of nutrients and life force. The drastic reduction or shutdown of vital nutrient supplies to the cells of an organ is not primarily a consequence of a cancerous tumor, but actually its biggest cause.By definition, a cancer cell is a normal, healthy cell that has undergone genetic mutation to the point that it can live in anaerobic surroundings (an environment where oxygen is not available). In other words, if you deprive a group of cells of vital oxygen (their primary source of energy), some of them will die, but others will manage to alter their genetic software program and mutate in a most ingenious way: the cells will become able to live without oxygen and will adapt to derive some of their energy needs from such things as cellular metabolic waste products.It may be easier to understand the cancer cells’ phenomenon when comparing it with the behavior of common microorganisms. Bacteria, for example, are divided into two main groups, aerobic and anaerobic, meaning those that need to use oxygen and those that can live without it; and there are also some specialized bacteria that are both aerobic and anaerobic.This is important to understand, since we have more bacteria in our body than we have cells. Aerobic bacteria thrive in an oxygenated environment. They are responsible for helping us with the digestion of food and with the manufacturing of important nutrients, such as B-vitamins. Anaerobic bacteria, on the other hand, can appear and thrive only in an environment where oxygen does not reach. They break down waste materials, toxic deposits, and dead, worn-out cells.