Cancer Support Group

Thursday, Apr 15th

Last update:06:42:40 AM GMT

Home Cancer Lung Cancer Lung Cancer Risk Factors

Lung Cancer Risk Factors

Several risk factors make a person more likely to develop lung cancer:
Risk factors of tobacco smoking No smoking
Tobacco smoking
More than 80% of lung cancers are thought to result from smoking. The longer a person has been smoking and the more packs per day smoked, the greater the risk. If a person stops smoking before a cancer develops, the damaged lung tissue starts to gradually return to normal. Even after ten years, the ex–smoker’s risk still does not equal the lower risk of a person who never smoked. However, an ex–smoker’s risk is about half the risk of people who continue to smoke. Cigar smoking and pipe smoking are almost as likely to cause lung cancer as cigarette smoking.

Nonsmokers who breathe in the smoke of others (also called second hand smoke or environmental tobacco smoke) are also at increased risk for lung cancer. A non–smoker who is married to a smoker has a 30% greater risk of developing lung cancer than the spouse of a non–smoker. Workers who have been exposed to tobacco smoke in the work place are also more likely to get lung cancer.

Exposure to asbestos fibers is an important risk factor for lung cancer. Asbestos workers who smoke have a very high lung cancer risk which is 50 to 90 times greater than that of people in general. Both smokers and non–smokers exposed to asbestos also have a greater risk of developing a type of cancer which starts from the pleura (the layer of cells that line the outer surface of the lung).

Cancer–causing agents in the workplace
In addition to asbestos and radon, there are other carcinogens (cancer–causing agents) in the workplace. People at risk include miners who may breathe in radioactive ores such as uranium, and workers exposed to chemicals such as arsenic, vinyl chloride, nickel chromates, coal products, mustard gas, and chloromethyl ethers. Even working with fuels such as gasoline might increase a person’s risk of developing lung cancer. The government and industry have taken major steps in recent years to protect workers. But the dangers are still present and those who work in these conditions should be very careful to avoid exposure.

Marijuana cigarettes contain more tar than tobacco cigarettes. Also, they are inhaled very deeply and the smoke is held in the lungs for a long time. Marijuana cigarettes are also smoked all the way to the end where tar content is the highest. Many of the cancer–causing substances in tobacco are also found in marijuana.

Recurring inflammation
Tuberculosis and some types of pneumonia often leave scarred areas on the lung. This scarring increases the risk of the person developing the adenocarcinoma type of lung cancer.

Personal and family history
People who have lung cancer have an increased risk of developing another lung cancer. Brothers, sisters, and children of those who have had lung cancer may have a slightly higher risk of lung cancer themselves.

Some reports have indicated that a diet low in fruits and vegetables may increase the persons chances to get cancer if they are exposed to tobacco smoke. Evidence is increasing that a diet containing lots of flavonoids (found in apples and onions as well as other fruits and vegetables) may be protective against lung cancer.

Air pollution Air pollution
Several studies have shown that the lung cells of women have a genetic predisposition to develop cancer when they are exposed to tobacco smoke. Many doctors think women who smoke or are exposed to tobacco smoke, are more likely to have lung cancer than men.

Air pollution
In some cities, air pollution may slightly increase the risk of lung cancer. This risk is far less than that caused by smoking.


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