Walking from work is beneficial to your body. It enables you to get some headspace which is a powerful tool to start your day right. Being out in the open, feeling the breeze and warmth of the sun, will make you feel energized and alert throughout the day. Walking could shed some holiday weight gain, too.

However, walking may also endanger your health, particularly your lungs, when you are exposed to pollution from car emissions and second-hand smoke from smokers on the streets.

According to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), PM2.5, (tiny particles made up of coal particles from power plants and dust blown up from the wind), are a major pollutant in the air. If inhaled,these particles travel deep into a person’s respiratory tract and cause short-term health effects and worsen existing medical conditions.

PM2.5 pollutants also damage your lungs. In the Philippines, lung cancer is the top source of cancer-related deaths among men, and the third leading cause for women. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), lung cancer claims 1.59 million lives around the world yearly.

It’s proven that lung cancer doesn’t appear in smokers only; even those who don’t smoke tobacco can have it, too. Read on to find out some other causes of lung cancer that both smoker and non-smokers should avoid.

Exposure to radon gas

We inhale low levels of radon every day, it seeps through the cracks in floors, walls, or foundation. Radon is produced from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks. The first floor of the house has the highest radon levels because of its closeness to the ground. When breathed in large quantities, it can damage the cells that line the lungs. Long-term exposure to radon gas causes lung cancer.

Inhaling secondhand smoke

Many people believe that only those who are regular smokers can get lung cancer. According to the American Heart Association, people who are exposed to secondhand smoke–the smoke exhaled by smokers into the environment–are also in danger. Secondhand smoke is the combination of smoke from the burning end of the cigarette and the smoke breathed out by smokers.

Breathing in secondhand smoke is an established risk factor for developing lung cancer.

This is especially true if the non-smoker has been exposed to secondhand smoke for a long time.  

Exposure to asbestos

It was once called the “miracle mineral” but later turned into a health hazard. Asbestos is used to create fireproof protective gear and known to be durable and resistant to chemicals. Asbestos never dissolves, making it extremely difficult for the body to expel and can lead to mesothelioma, cancer that grows in the lining of the lungs.Today, asbestos usage is limited or banned in many countries.

Never touching a cigarette in your life, doesn’t guarantee protection against lung cancer. It’s best to avoid the harmful substances mentioned above, and to have your home tested for radon. You may also wear a face mask when you spend a long time outdoors, when you are exposed to pollutants. Visit ManilaMed’s Respiratory Therapy Department to know more about the risks of lung cancer.