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Lung Cancer: Risk Factors and Improving Your Lung Health

Lung Cancer: Risk Factors and Improving Your Lung Health

November 1, 2023

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among American men and women, and 8 out of 10 people with lung cancer got it from smoking. For Lung Cancer Awareness month, the NYCDCC Welfare Fund is sharing educational materials with our members, so they can learn about the risk factors associated with the disease, as well as ways to improve their lung health.

Smoking is the top risk factor associated with lung cancer. Inhaling secondhand smoke also increases the risk of lung cancer, and parents who smoke are more likely to have kids who smoke. Vaping poses many of the same health risks as smoking cigarettes, including nicotine-fueled blood pressure spikes and lung damage.

The good news is that by quitting smoking, you can immediately begin to improve your lung health and reduce your risk of lung cancer and other diseases. One year after quitting smoking, the risk of coronary heart disease drops by one-half. Ten years after quitting smoking, the death rate from lung cancer is 50% lower than if you had continued to smoke. Quitting smoking, helping loved ones quit smoking, and talking to your kids about the risks of smoking are all important in lowering the deaths caused by lung cancer.

In addition to quitting smoking, there are several other ways to improve your lung health, including:

-Exercising 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. This includes walking, jogging, running, gardening, outdoor chores, and taking the stairs.

-Avoid indoor and outdoor pollutants, including smoke, mold, and cleaning products.

-Get a physical exam every year, so you and your healthcare provider can assess and monitor your health.

-Get screened for lung cancer if you are between the ages of 50 and 80 and are currently a smoker, or have quit smoking in the past 15 years.

To learn more about Lung Cancer Screenings, and to take a two-minute quiz to see if you are eligible for a Lung Cancer Screening, visit

Please take the time to explore the links and resources on this page, and we encourage you to share them with your fellow members and loved ones.

The NYCDCC Welfare Fund partners with Memorial Sloan Kettering to offer MSK Direct, a program that gives you guided access to expert cancer care. They provide resources and support throughout your care experience. To learn more screenings, as well as other cancer care related topics, visit the MSK Direct website for the NYCDCC Welfare Fund at If you or a loved one are impacted by cancer and would like to discuss treatment options available at MSK, please call the dedicated MSK Direct phone line for the NYCDCC Welfare Fund at (833) 786-3368


—————————————————–Brochure: What You Can Do to Prevent Lung Cancer

—————————————————–Brochure: Your Guide to Lung Cancer Screening















—————————————————-Health Benefits of Quitting Smoking

—————————————————-Vaping: What You Need To Know