Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, and November is Lung Cancer Awareness month. People who smoke have the greatest risk of lung cancer, and the risk increases with the length of time and number of cigarettes you’ve smoked. However, other risks include exposure to secondhand smoke, previous radiation therapy, exposure to radon gas, exposure to asbestos or other carcinogens, and a family history of lung cancer.   Signs and symptoms of lung cancer include shortness of breath, coughing up blood, pain in your chest, hoarseness, losing weight, bone pain, and headaches.   While there is no sure way to prevent lung cancer, you are able to reduce your risk if you:   Don’t smoke. If you’ve never smoked, don’t start now. Talk to friends and loved ones if you know they smoke and tell them the importance of acknowledging the dangers of smoking and the harm it causes to their lungs.   Stop smoking. Quitting reduces your risk of lung cancer, even if you’ve smoked for years. Talk to your doctor about strategies and aids to help you quit, such as nicotine replacement products, medications, and support groups.   Quitting smoking is often extremely difficult for many, as nicotine is an addictive chemical within tobacco products. Instead of just quitting “cold turkey,” it may be smart to line up support in advance, attend therapy, research medication, and mentally prepare for quitting day.   Another way to help quit smoking is to lean on loved ones. Talking to friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, or other people you are close with about trying to quit may be empowering and offers a source of encouragement to keep you going when you’re tempted to smoke. Joining a support group or talking to a counselor is another great way to stay on track. A few sessions with behavioral therapy, a type of counseling, helps identify personal strategies and ways to have them become a part of your daily routine.   If you have put down the pack for good, be sure to stay accountable, and avoid triggers such as alcohol. When you drink, it is harder to avoid smoking, especially if it is a habit. If you often smoke when you drink, try switching to tea or coffee instead, or distract yourself by talking to a friend, taking a walk, or chewing gum.   Quitting smoking is the greatest way to prevent lung cancer, and although it might be very challenging, living a long and healthy life may require some basic lifestyle changes. By quitting, you also help save those around you as well.   Avoid secondhand smoke. If you live or work with a smoker, share the dangers of smoking with them and urge them to quit. If they refuse, ask them to smoke outside or away from you. Do your best to avoid areas where people smoke at bars and restaurants and seek out smoke-free options when possible.   Eat a healthy diet. While some circumstances such as your genetics or being exposed to secondhand smoke is often out of your control, choosing a healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables is something you are able to do today for your health. Food sources of vitamins is the best way to keep your body nourished, mind strong, and lungs healthy.   Exercise regularly. Forming a regular exercise regimen boosts lung engagement and lung health overall. Being overweight or not getting enough exercise may leave the body more susceptible to lung cancer.   If you experience any symptoms or signs of lung cancer, talk to your doctor right away to begin treatment, and learn more information about your lung health.   At Bridge to Better Living of Northern Kentucky, we take your health needs into consideration when providing you options for your future home. Contact us today to get in touch with a Senior Transition Consultant and make a step in the right direction to protecting your health and lungs.