Nov 29, 2018 8:00 AM

family enjoying outdoor activity

Most people know that cigarette smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. There are other risk factors for lung cancer as well. Any time a small particle of dust, pollution, chemicals, or smoke enters the lungs, it has the potential to damage the lungs. Over time, particles that build up and get trapped can introduce viruses, bacteria, and mucous to the lungs, making it more difficult for the lungs to filter out new particles. This can increase cell damage, inflammation, and cancer risk.

Just because you can’t see those particles in the air doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Learn more about potentially harmful substances and ways you can reduce your risk for lung cancer.


  • Radon is radioactive gas that you can’t see or smell. Some buildings have unsafe levels of radon. You can reduce your risk for cancer by testing your home for radon. If you have high levels, you can take steps to reduce these levels.
  • Smoke
    • Wood-burning stoves create indoor pollution by blowing smoke from the wood throughout the house.
    • Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including some that are known to cause cancer.
  • Aerosol from e-cigarettes uses harmful and potentially harmful chemicals to create the vapor.
  • Air pollution contains harmful or poisonous particles or gases. Some of these pollutants can be seen and smelled. Others cannot.

Ways to Reduce Your Risk

  • Help decrease outdoor pollution caused by cars. You can carpool, ride your bike, use public transportation, and stop idling by turning off your car when possible.
  • If you have a wood-burning stove, look into Utah’s Wood Stove Conversion Assistance Program. This program helps homeowners replace wood stoves with natural gas or propane devices.
  • Quit smoking. Here are five resources to help you quit tobacco.
  • Avoid your exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Look at your genetic history. If you have a history of lung cancer in your family, talk with your doctor about ways to lower your risk.
  • Keep your body and lungs strong to fight off infections. You can do this by being physically active and eating healthy.

Do your best to decrease your list of lung diseases by following the tips above, and talk with your doctor about whether or not you should be screened for lung cancer.

For more information about lowering your risk of lung cancer or other types of cancer, contact our Cancer Learning Center to talk with a health educator.

lung cancer cancer prevention tobacco radon

Cancer touches all of us.

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