ZocdocAnswersCould running or exercise make my risk for lung cancer lessen?

Question

Could running or exercise make my risk for lung cancer lessen?

There is lung cancer in my family. Two people have had it. I don't want to get it so I run and exercise a lot. Will this help lessen my risk of getting cancer or does it have no affect?

Answer

First of all, congratulations on keeping up the running and exercise! This is a great way to improve your over all health and, in particular, it will help keep down the risk of heart disease later in life and also obesity and diabetes. Unfortunately, however, running and exercise does not really affect this risk for developing lung cancer. In fact, most cases of lung cancer are related to environmental exposures. In particular, exposure to smoking (either by smoking yourself or second hand smoke) dramatically increases your risk for lung cancer. There are also some other occupational exposures, such as asbestos, that can also increase your risk. There are definitely genetic (familial) factors that predispose to developing lung cancer, but the exact risk here is not very clear. Therefore, really the only clear thing that you can do to lower your over all risk for lung cancer still is just to avoid exposure to tobacco smoke and environmental toxins like asbestos. You should also make sure that you keep up with your yearly physical examinations with your primary care doctor. They will keep an eye on your overall health, and you can also tell them if you ever have any concerning symptoms such as weight loss or persistent cough.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.