Lung cancer is one of the most prevalent types of cancer in the United States, and it is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women. Utah is no exception to this trend, as lung cancer continues to be a significant public health concern in the state. Radon gas is another leading cause of lung cancer in Utah, as it is a known carcinogen. This blog will delve into the primary causes of lung cancer in Utah, including environmental and lifestyle factors.
Smoking is the Leading Cause
Firstly, it is essential to understand that lung cancer is primarily caused by exposure to carcinogens, such as tobacco smoke, radon gas, and air pollution. In Utah, as in other states, tobacco use is the leading cause of lung cancer. According to the Utah Department of Health, approximately 80% of lung cancer cases in the state are attributable to smoking. Furthermore, Utah has a higher than average rate of tobacco use, with approximately 11% of adults in the state being current smokers. This high rate of smoking is a major contributing factor to the high incidence of lung cancer in Utah.
Radon Gas is a Leading Cause of Lung Cancer
Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that is naturally present in soil and rocks. It can seep into homes and other buildings, where it can accumulate and cause lung cancer when inhaled. Utah has some of the highest levels of radon in the country, with approximately 1 in 3 homes in the state having elevated levels of the gas. Exposure to radon is estimated to be responsible for approximately 12% of lung cancer deaths in Utah.
Pollution in Utah Causes Lung Cancer
Air pollution is also a significant cause of lung cancer in Utah. The state’s air quality is often compromised by pollutants such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, and ozone. These pollutants can irritate the lungs and cause inflammation, leading to an increased risk of lung cancer. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality reports that approximately 2% of lung cancer deaths in the state are attributable to exposure to air pollution.
Your Lifestyle Could Put You at Risk for Lung Cancer
Aside from environmental factors, lifestyle choices can also contribute to lung cancer risk in Utah. For example, exposure to secondhand smoke can increase the risk of lung cancer, even among non-smokers. Utah has relatively high rates of secondhand smoke exposure, with approximately 16% of adults reporting exposure to smoke in their homes, and 12% reporting exposure in the workplace.
Other lifestyle factors that can contribute to lung cancer risk include diet and exercise habits. A diet high in processed foods and low in fruits and vegetables can increase the risk of cancer, including lung cancer. Similarly, a sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of cancer, including lung cancer.
Are You At Risk for Lung Cancer?
If you are concerned about your risk of lung cancer, consider ordering a Radon Test Kit to check for radon in your home. Additionally, if you are a smoker, quitting can significantly reduce your risk of developing lung cancer. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways to quit smoking and reduce your exposure to environmental pollutants.