The following protective factors may decrease the risk of lung cancer:
1) Not smoking
The best way to prevent lung cancer is to not smoke.
2) Quitting smoking
Smokers can decrease their risk of lung cancer by quitting. In smokers who have been treated for lung cancer, quitting smoking lowers the risk of new lung cancers. Counseling, the use of nicotine replacement products (such as gum, patches, sprays, lozenges, or inhalers), and antidepressanttherapy have helped smokers quit for good.
In a person who has quit smoking, the chance of preventing lung cancer depends on how many years and how much the person smoked and the length of time since quitting.
3) Eating more fruits and vegetables
Studies show that eating a lot of fruits or vegetables may help lower the risk of lung cancer.
Study results have been mixed about whether exercising or being physically active lowers the risk of lung cancer. Some studies have shown that people who are physically active have a lower risk of lung cancer even if they smoke.
5) Taking vitamin E supplements does not affect the risk of lung cancer.
6) Cancer prevention clinical trials are used to study ways to prevent cancer.
Cancer prevention clinical trials are used to study ways to lower the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Some cancer prevention trials are conducted with healthy people who have not had cancer but who have an increased risk for cancer. Other prevention trials are conducted with people who have had cancer and are trying to prevent another cancer of the same type or to lower their chance of developing a new type of cancer. Other trials are done with healthy volunteers who are not known to have any risk factors for cancer.
The purpose of some cancer prevention clinical trials is to find out whether actions people take can prevent cancer. These may include eating fruits and vegetables, exercising, quitting smoking, or taking certain medicines, vitamins, minerals, or food supplements.
7) New ways to prevent lung cancer are being studied in clinical trials.
Clinical trials are taking place in many parts of the country. Information about clinical trials can be found in the Clinical Trials section of the NCI Web site. Check NCI’s PDQ Cancer Clinical Trials Registry for prevention trials for non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer that are now accepting patients. These include trials for quitting smoking.