Risk Factors For Lung Cancer

It is no secret that smoking is bad for your lungs and may increase your risk of developing certain cancers, such as lung cancer. However, there are other risk factors for lung cancer which may put you at higher risk for developing this type of cancer down the road. These risk factors include:

  1. lung cancerCigarettes: You have heard it time and time again. Cigarette smoke is bad for your health. It is also the leading cause of lung cancer, linking to 80% to 90% of all lung cancer cases in the United States. Individuals who smoke cigarettes are as much as 15 to 30 times more likely to develop lung cancer and die from lung cancer than non-smokers. This risk continues to increase depending on the amount of cigarettes smoked daily and the number of years an individual has been smoking. Long story short, it is never too late to quit smoking.
  2. Other Tobacco Products: It is not just cigarettes that pose a risk. Cigars, pipes, and other forms of tobacco products are also dangerous. In fact, tobacco smoke is comprised of approximately 7,000 chemicals, at least 70 of which are known to cause cancer in people or animals.
  3. Second Hand Smoke: Inhaling the smoke from another person’s tobacco product is not only a nuisance, it is also bad for your health. It has been said that secondhand smoke is just as dangerous as smoking itself. Each year in the United States, around 7,300 people who have never smoked die from lung cancer caused by secondhand smoke. It is estimated that in the U.S. half of the children and 2 out of 5 adults are exposed to secondhand smoke.
  4. Family History: If someone in your family, such as a parent or sibling, have been diagnosed with lung cancer, your risk for developing lung cancer may be higher. This may be due to being exposed to the same substances, such as chemicals and smoke.
  5. Personal History: If you have previously been diagnosed with a lung cancer, your chances of developing another lung cancer is heightened, specifically if you continue to smoke. Additionally, cancer survivors who have been exposed to radiation therapy to the chest are at a greater risk.
  6. Radon: Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. If you have ever purchased a home, you are most likely familiar with radon testing. Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is emitted from rocks and dirt. This odorless, tasteless, and non-visible gas can get trapped in buildings and homes. As reported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, radon is linked to approximately 20,000 cases of lung cancer each year.
  7. Various Substances: Although we do not know every substance that poses a risk for lung cancer, we do know that exposure to asbestos, arsenic, diesel exhaust, and some forms of silica and chromium can increase the risk of developing lung cancer.
  8. Diet: In recent years, scientists have begun studying the link between certain foods and dietary supplements and the development of lung cancer. Although these studies are still underway, it has been proven that smokers who take beta-carotene supplements have an increased risk for lung cancer.

It is important to keep in mind that just because you make have been exposed to an item on the list above, or you check a few of the boxes for risk factors, that does not mean you will develop lung cancer. Unfortunately we are unable to predict who, what, when, and where cancer will strike. However, it is recommended to take precautions when possible to lower your risk, such as quitting smoking and testing your home for radon.

Learn More

If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer, we invite you to explore Suncoast Cancer Institute. Our team of oncology specialists are experts in the treatment of lung cancer and would welcome the opportunity to learn more about your diagnosis. Find out why patients are choosing Suncoast Cancer Institute and request an appointment today!


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