Lung cancer

Can lung cancer be prevented?

Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK. In 2013, 45,372 cases of lung cancer were diagnosed.

The lungs transfer oxygen into the blood when you breathe in and remove carbon dioxide from the blood when you breathe out.

By far the most important thing you can do to prevent lung cancer is to not smoke, or to give up smoking. If you do smoke, stopping smoking will reduce your risk. The NHS stop smoking service can help you quit.

We also have evidence that consuming high levels of a molecule called beta-carotene, which you might find in some dietary supplements, can increase lung cancer risk in smokers.

This is one of the reasons we recommend you do not rely on supplements for cancer prevention. In general, it’s best to get all the nutrients you need from a healthy balanced diet rather than from supplements.

However, it’s fine to take supplements if you are specifically advised to take them by a healthcare professional – for example, if you are pregnant or trying to conceive, you should take folic acid.

Visit NHS Choices to find out about the symptoms and treatments of lung cancer.

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