Despite some people having inherited faulty genes that increase their risk of developing particular types of cancer, many common cancers are linked to lifestyle habits, with smoking being one of the main lifestyle risk factors for lung cancer.
Each year, more people die of lung cancer than from colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. Lung cancer mainly occurs in older people, most people diagnosed with lung cancer are 65 or older. The Irish have the highest mortality rates relating to most types of cancer than the rest of the population of England and Wales, which may be partly attributable to the older age profile of the Irish in Britain.
Your risk of lung cancer increases with the number of cigarettes you smoke each day and the number of years you have smoked. Excessive alcohol use may also increase your risk of lung cancer. Drinking more than a moderate amount of alcohol — no more than one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men, can increase your risk of the disease.
Although great strides have been made in the detection and treatment of cancer and many are now successfully cured, especially if diagnosed and treated early, prevention is by far the best cure.
Quitting at any age can significantly lower your risk of developing lung cancer. Even if you don’t smoke, your risk of lung cancer increases if you’re exposed to secondhand smoke.
Visit https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree for information and support to help you quit smoking.
If you’ve given up smoking, how did you do it? What was your biggest challenge? We’d love to hear your success story and tips! Tag us @irishinbritain on twitter.