A common view of lung cancer is that it is self-inflicted by smoking – and that you will never run the risk of the disease if you give up the habit. But that is not true. About 15 percent of lung cancer diagnosis occurs in people who have never smoked. You may be exposed to other things that cause lung cancer and never even know it. Therefore, it is particularly important to be aware of the risks factors of lung cancer.
1. Passive Smoking
Inhalation of tobacco or passive smoking from other smokers sharing work or living space is an established risk factor for the development of lung cancer. Sidestream smoke which is identified as the smoke from the lighted end of a cigarette, or cigar, or tobacco burning in a hookah has higher concentrations of cancer-causing carcinogens and is more toxic than mainstream smoke. It also has smaller particles than mainstream smoke. These smaller particles make their way into the lungs and the body’s cells more easily.
2. Radon Gas
One of the most common causes of lung cancer after cigarette smoking is radon gas. It is a colourless, odourless naturally-occurring radioactive gas that forms when uranium decays. Radon gas can travel up through the soil and enter homes through gaps in the foundation, pipes, drains, or other openings and can build up inside homes and schools to dangerous levels. Exposure to high levels of radon can cause lung cancer. 7 Factors That Affect Survival Rates in Lung Cancer Patients.
According to a study published in the journal Molecular and Clinical Oncology, exposure to asbestos results in serious risks of developing mesothelioma and lung cancer. Microscopic fibres of asbestos break loose from the insulation material and are released into the air where they can be inhaled into the lungs. Asbestos workers who do not smoke have a fivefold greater risk of developing lung cancer than other non-smokers. However, cigarette smoking drastically increases the chance of developing asbestos-related lung cancer among workers exposed to asbestos. More Women Falling Prey to Lung Cancer: Study.
4. Air Pollution
According to a study published in the journal Cancer Detection and Prevention, air pollution from vehicles, industry, and power plants can increase the risk of developing lung cancer in individuals. Experts believe that prolonged exposure to highly polluted air can carry a risk for the development of lung cancer similar to that of passive smoking. If you are exposed to high levels of pollution, for example on a busy road or during a high pollution episode, you may experience immediate symptoms. These include irritated airways, feeling out of breath and coughing.
According to a study published in the journal Oncology Letters, A family history of lung cancer increases the risk for the disease in both smokers and non-smokers. Factors such as individual genetic susceptibility may play a role in the causation of lung cancer. Numerous other studies have shown that lung cancer is more likely to occur in both smoking and non-smoking relatives of those who have had lung cancer than in the general population.
Unfortunately, the symptoms do not show up until the cancer is in an advanced stage, which is why it is often caught late in the game. Regular check-ups can help diagnose the disease before it is too late.