News You Can Use
This study began recruitment in 1992 at Massachusetts General Hospital and produces a steady amount of data, mostly around inherited traits in metabolism, cell cycle and DNA repair in lung cancer risk and it is affected by environmental or dietary factors. While some findings are restricted to inherited factors beyond our control (like DNA), there are data suggesting that behavioral changes may also have an effect on lung cancer diagnosis and outcomes. Important findings, and some you have power to change, are noted below.
|Tobacco exposure||The results of our own study and several others have shown that smoking, both primary and secondary exposure (second-hand smoke), affect disease development. For patients who quit smoking after a lung cancer diagnosis, survivability increases. In addition, reducing exposure to second-hand smoke (also known as SHS) prolongs survival.|
|Diet||Data from our studies in addition to other research has demonstrated a relationship between a healthful diet (with more emphasis on fruit and vegetable consumption and less red meat) and reduced risk. Diets high in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower seem to have the most effect. Vitamin D intake also shows improved survival.|
|Environment||Exposures to asbestos and other harmful chemicals-at work or otherwise-are associated with an increased risk of disease. How your body processes these chemicals affects disease risk and development. Wearing protective masks or other gear when occupationally recommended can reduce your risk.|
What You Can Do
While behavior changes are difficult to implement and maintain, they can be done. Lifestyle changes, no matter how small, may still have an effect on your diagnosis and quality of life. Once you have decided to make a change, it is important to gain support from friends and family as they are likely support changes beneficial to your health.
Massachusetts General Hospital has many resources for cancer patients and their families. Smoking cessation and nutrition consults are among the many services offered by the Cancer Care Center. Please refer to the resources page for more information on the hospital’s programs that may be helpful.