Risks & Symptoms
Who Is At Greatest Risk For Lung Cancer?
The number one cause of lung cancer is cigarette smoking. Cigar and pipe smoking also increase the risk. Even involuntary smokers, persons exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke, have an increased risk of developing lung cancer.
Factors affecting a smoker’s likelihood of lung cancer include the age at which smoking began, the number of years a person has smoked, the number of cigarettes, pipes, or cigars smoked each day, and how deeply the smoke is inhaled. (Cigar and pipe smokers are at increased risk for lung, mouth, and other types of cancer even if they do not inhale.)
Workers with exposure to radon, asbestos, and certain air pollutants like the combusted by-products of fossil fuels have an increased risk of lung cancer. Among these workers, those who smoke are at an even greater risk than those who don’t. (Homeowners can also be exposed to radon. Radon detection kits are available in hardware stores.)
Lung diseases such as tuberculosis also increase a person’s risk of developing lung cancer. A person who has already had lung cancer is more likely to develop a second lung cancer than a person who has never had lung cancer.
The best way to prevent lung cancer is to stay away from tobacco smoke. Researchers say that the sooner a person quits smoking, the better.
What Are The Symptoms?