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How to Reduce Your Risk of Lung Cancer

ESTIMATED READING TIME 4 MINUTES

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

It’s lung cancer awareness month, a campaign to encourage early detection of the disease.

According to the Lung Cancer Awareness Month Coalition, over 2 million people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year. It pays to be familiar with the early signs of lung cancer because if the disease is caught early, it’s less likely to spread to other parts of the body.

Your lungs are incredibly important, being one of the most hardworking organs in your body. Lung health affects every other part of you, because all your body’s cells rely on your lungs to deliver a good supply of oxygen. Your lungs are also responsible for removing carbon dioxide, which would otherwise build up in your bloodstream and cause problems.

How to be Lung Cancer Aware

Warning signs of lung cancer include:

  • A cough persisting for longer than three weeks
  • Breathlessness when doing activities that are normal for you
  • Chest pains
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Coughing up blood


Although lung cancer is often caused by smoking, non-smokers can be affected too. Environmental risk factors other than tobacco smoke include outdoor and indoor pollution, such as diesel exhaust fumes and emissions from industry.

How to Look After Your Lungs

Lungs need good nutrition, and especially beneficial are certain phytochemicals in plant foods known as antioxidants. A process called oxidative stress can damage body cells and cause alterations in their DNA leading to cancer. Antioxidants slow down lung damage and help to reduce uncontrolled inflammation, a known risk factor for cancer. One study found as people ate more antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables like tomatoes, apples and bananas, they had less deterioration in their lung function 1.

Research has found top foods for lung health include apples, green leafy vegetables, garlic 2, ginger, green tea and turmeric. Meanwhile, making sure you’re consuming plenty of anti-inflammatory omega-3 oils from fish such as salmon and mackerel can help manage ongoing inflammation.

A traditional Chinese herbal supplement extracted from a type of fungus, known as Cordyceps, has been shown in test tubes to reduce inflammation. 

Sensible measures like avoiding sources of air pollution wherever possible, including regular exercise in your routine, and avoiding processed foods containing sugar, modified fats and food additives can help to safeguard your lung health.

antioxidants

What is the Lung Microbiome?

You may know you have a collection of bacteria resident in your intestines, called your gut microbiome. This collection of bacteria is unique to you. Scientists have recently discovered there is a microbiome in your lungs, too. These bacteria support lung health by helping to control your immune system so it doesn’t react to harmless airborne environmental substances by creating uncontrolled inflammation.

It’s likely, too, from what we know about the role of the gut microbiome that the bacteria contained in the lungs probably keep their mucus lining healthy and manufacture special chemicals helping to control inflammation. However, some of the organisms resident in your lungs aren’t even known to science as yet, so there’s likely to be a lot to learn about the lung microbiome.

Out-of-balance populations of bacteria in the lung microbiome have been seen in people suffering from lung diseases including lung cancer.

Although your lung microbiome is a community all of its own, containing specific bacteria, it seems it’s influenced by your gut microbiome, as the two are believed to talk to each other. So although you might not connect your gut with your lungs, it pays to look after your gut and its microbiome to ensure your lungs remain healthy too.

Keep your gut and lung microbiome happy by eating a diet rich in plant foods containing natural fibre to feed the beneficial bacteria inside you. Avoid sugar as it encourages the growth of unhealthy bacteria.

Personalised Support to Maximise Your Lung Health

Jo Gamble holds a Fellowship in Integrative Oncology, and she will work with you to discover imbalances which may have contributed towards your health issues. Integrative oncology looks at your whole body, not simply the cancer, to understand the factors supporting and depleting your unique body. This knowledge will help you make positive choices to support your health and empower you to take control of your wellness journey.

Integrative oncology is where conventional cancer treatment meets complementary medicine to improve health outcomes and support traditional cancer treatments.

Contact me today to start your journey towards better lung health.

References

Did you know you can request a FREE 15 minute Discovery Call

Would you like to protect your lungs and reduce the risk of lung cancer? Why not book a free 15-minute discovery call to see if Functional Medicine is for you?

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