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Prevention - Lung cancer

If you smoke, the best way to prevent lung cancer and other serious conditions is to stop smoking as soon as possible.

However long you have been smoking, it's always worth quitting. Every year you do not smoke decreases your risk of getting serious illnesses, such as lung cancer.

After 12 years of not smoking, your chance of developing lung cancer falls to more than half that of someone who smokes. After 15 years, your chances of getting lung cancer are almost the same as someone who has never smoked.

NHS Smokefree can offer advice and support to help you quit smoking. You can call 0300 123 1044, or visit the website.

A GP or pharmacist can also give you advice about stopping smoking.

A balanced diet

Research suggests that eating a low-fat, high-fibre diet, including at least 5 portions a day of fresh fruit and vegetables and plenty of wholegrains, can reduce your risk of lung cancer, as well as other types of cancer and heart disease.

Find out more about eating a balanced diet.


There's some evidence to show that regular exercise may lower the risk of getting lung cancer, particularly in people who smoke or used to smoke.

If you have lung cancer, being physically active may help reduce symptoms like tiredness, anxiety and depression.

It's recommended that most adults do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, plus strength-training exercises on at least 2 days each week.

Find out more about the exercise guidelines

Page last reviewed: 01 November 2022
Next review due: 01 November 2025