Risk Factors for Lung cancer
|About risk factors: Risk factors for Lung cancer are factors that do not seem to be a direct cause of the disease, but seem to be associated in some way. Having a risk factor for Lung cancer makes the chances of getting a condition higher but does not always lead to Lung cancer. Also, the absence of any risk factors or having a protective factor does not necessarily guard you against getting Lung cancer. For general information and a list of risk factors, see the risk center.|
Risk factor list: The list of risk factors mentioned for Lung cancer in various sources includes:
- Smoking - about 87% of lung cancers are related to smoking
- Starting smoking at early age
- Smoking many packs a day
- Passive smoking
- Cigar smoking
- Pipe smoking
- Air pollutants
- Lung Diseases
- Personal history of lung cancer
Risk factor statistics for Lung cancer: The following are statistics from various sources about the risk factors for Lung cancer:
- Risk of lung cancer 54% higher in African American men than white men America (CBCF Health Organisation, 2004)
- African Americans are 50% more likely to get the disease than whites in America (CBCF Health Organisation, 2004)
Risk factors discussion: Smoking accounts for more than 85 percent of all lung cancer deaths. For smokers, the risk of getting lung cancer increases with the amount of tobacco smoked each day, the number of years they have smoked, the type of tobacco product, and how deeply they inhale. Overall, for those who smoke one pack a day, the chance of getting lung cancer is about 10 times greater than for nonsmokers. Cigarette smokers are also more likely than nonsmokers to develop several other types of cancer, including oral cancer and cancers of the larynx, esophagus, pancreas, bladder, kidney, and cervix. Smoking may also increase the likelihood of developing cancers of the stomach, liver, prostate, colon, and rectum. The risk of cancer begins to decrease soon after a smoker quits, and the risk continues to decline gradually each year after quitting.1
Studies suggest that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, also called secondhand smoke, increases the risk of lung cancer for nonsmokers. 1
People who smoke cigars or pipes have a risk for cancers of the oral cavity that is similar to the risk for people who smoke cigarettes. Cigar smokers also have an increased chance of developing cancers of the lung, larynx, esophagus, and pancreas. 1
Researchers have discovered several causes of lung cancer -- most are related to the use of tobacco.
Cigarettes. Smoking cigarettes causes lung cancer. Harmful substances, called carcinogens, in tobacco damage the cells in the lungs. Over time, the damaged cells may become cancerous. The likelihood that a smoker will develop lung cancer is affected by the age at which smoking began, how long the person has smoked, the number of cigarettes smoked per day, and how deeply the smoker inhales. Stopping smoking greatly reduces a person's risk for developing lung cancer.
Cigars and Pipes. Cigar and pipe smokers have a higher risk of lung cancer than nonsmokers. The number of years a person smokes, the number of pipes or cigars smoked per day, and how deeply the person inhales all affect the risk of developing lung cancer. Even cigar and pipe smokers who do not inhale are at increased risk for lung, mouth, and other types of cancer.
Environmental Tobacco Smoke. The chance of developing lung cancer is increased by exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) -- the smoke in the air when someone else smokes. Exposure to ETS, or secondhand smoke, is called involuntary or passive smoking.
Radon. Radon is an invisible, odorless, and tasteless radioactive gas that occurs naturally in soil and rocks. It can cause damage to the lungs that may lead to lung cancer. People who work in mines may be exposed to radon and, in some parts of the country, radon is found in houses. Smoking increases the risk of lung cancer even more for those already at risk because of exposure to radon. A kit available at most hardware stores allows homeowners to measure radon levels in their homes. The home radon test is relatively easy to use and inexpensive. Once a radon problem is corrected, the hazard is gone for good.
Asbestos. Asbestos is the name of a group of minerals that occur naturally as fibers and are used in certain industries. Asbestos fibers tend to break easily into particles that can float in the air and stick to clothes. When the particles are inhaled, they can lodge in the lungs, damaging cells and increasing the risk for lung cancer. Studies have shown that workers who have been exposed to large amounts of asbestos have a risk of developing lung cancer that is 3 to 4 times greater than that for workers who have not been exposed to asbestos. This exposure has been observed in such industries as shipbuilding, asbestos mining and manufacturing, insulation work, and brake repair. The risk of lung cancer is even higher among asbestos workers who also smoke. Asbestos workers should use the protective equipment provided by their employers and follow recommended work practices and safety procedures.
Pollution. Researchers have found a link between lung cancer and exposure to certain air pollutants, such as by-products of the combustion of diesel and other fossil fuels. However, this relationship has not been clearly defined, and more research is being done.
Lung Diseases. Certain lung diseases, such as tuberculosis (TB), increase a person's chance of developing lung cancer. Lung cancer tends to develop in areas of the lung that are scarred from TB.
Personal History. A person who has had lung cancer once is more likely to develop a second lung cancer compared with a person who has never had lung cancer. Quitting smoking after lung cancer is diagnosed may prevent the development of a second lung cancer.
Risks factors for Lung cancer: medical news summaries: The following medical news items are relevant to risk factors for Lung cancer:
- 17 substances added to America’s list of carcinogens
- Cancer deaths take over deaths caused by heart disease
- COPD is the 4th leading killer but there is not much awareness of the condition
- Lung cancer may be an inheritable conditon
- Passive smoking during childhood increases risk of adult lung cancer
1. excerpt from What You Need To Know About Cancer - An Overview: NCI
2. excerpt from What You Need To Know About Lung Cancer: NCI
Last revision: June 2, 2003
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