Factors that Increase the Chance Of Getting Lung Cancer

January 19, 2022
Factors that Increase the Chance Of Getting Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in the U.S. and is by far the deadliest. It kills more people than breast, prostate, and colon cancers combined, with tens of thousands of cases developing every single year in the US. 

Understanding your risk can help you seek the appropriate medical care and may even save your life. After all, the earlier you receive treatment for lung cancer, the more likely you are to survive this disease. 

While doctors and scientists still don’t know the exact causes of lung cancer, they do know about lung cancer risk factors, or aspects of yourself and your lifestyle that may make you more likely to develop lung cancer. The following are the top risk factors of lung cancer that you should know. If any of these apply to you, consider seeking medical care to monitor your lung health.


This is well-known, even if some people don’t intend to do anything about it. Smoking kills, and the most common way of doing so is with lung cancer. In fact, the American Cancer Society reports that as many as 80% of lung cancer deaths are a direct result of smoking. 

Some people may be surprised to learn that smoking cigarettes is not the only way to increase your chance of getting lung cancer. Smoking other products like vape devices/e-cigarettes, marijuana, cigars, and illicit drugs can also increase your chances of developing lung cancer. Please note that “light” or menthol cigarettes aren’t an exception, either. The more you smoke every day, the more likely you are to develop lung cancer. 

If you smoke, please quit as soon as possible, even if this means seeking help. A doctor can connect you with resources that can help you quit smoking for good. This can save your life and even protect people around you, as secondhand smoking, inhaling the fumes from your cigarette smoke, can also be a risk factor for lung cancer.

Family History of Cancers

Cancer can be an inherited trait, meaning that if you have blood relatives, especially close relatives like a parent or sibling, with any form of cancer, this may increase your chances of developing lung cancer. For some reason, this risk can be more significant if the relative was diagnosed at a young age. 

However, a shared family risk can be related to other factors, like household exposure to secondhand smoke and radon gas poisoning. Several people who grow up in the same home may develop lung cancer for these reasons rather than a genetic predisposition.

Exposure to Certain Chemicals

Research has shown that exposure to certain deadly chemicals can increase your risk of lung cancer. These include:

  • Radon, a radioactive gas that can be found in some American homes and businesses
  • Asbestos, a chemical that miners, millers, textile workers, home renovators, and people who work in shipyards may be exposed to
  • Diesel and exhaust fumes from cars and other machinery
  • Arsenic, which can be found in tainted foods and drinking water
  • Beta carotene, a common over-the-counter dietary supplement 
  • Coal products, a significant risk for coal miners and other fossil fuel workers

What to Do Next

If any of the above risk factors for lung cancer apply to you, talk to a doctor. They can begin monitoring your lung health, including screening you for lung cancer should you show symptoms of the disease, such as difficulty breathing, coughing up blood, and others. If you want the best medical care, especially when it comes to lung cancer, seek out the specialists at BASS Cancer Center. We are one of the most trusted names in cancer care in the entire Bay area.