Causes & Risk Factors

Several risk factors may increase your chances of getting lung cancer. Smoking is the biggest risk factor. It’s responsible for about 90% of all cases.

People who smoke cigarettes are 15 to 30 times more likely to get lung cancer than people who do not smoke. Even smoking occasionally can increase the risk of lung cancer. The more a person smokes, the more the risk goes up.

Secondhand smoke is also a risk factor. People who live with someone who smokes are 20 percent to 30 percent more likely to get lung cancer than those who live in a smoke-free home.

Smoking causes lung cancer by damaging the cells that line the lungs. When you inhale the smoke, which is full of cancer-causing substances, changes in the lung tissue begin immediately. Although your body may be able to repair this damage, repeated exposure can cause long-term damage and the cells to act abnormally.

Some other chemicals also are risky. People who work with asbestos or are exposed to uranium, radon, or arsenic are more likely to get lung cancer. People with a personal or family history of lung cancer are at increased risk as well.

When to See a Doctor

If you have any continual signs or symptoms of lung cancer, make an appointment with your doctor right away. Also, make an appointment if you smoke and have been unable to quit. Moreover, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends yearly lung cancer screening for people who have a 20 pack-year or more smoking history, smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years, and are between 50 and 80 years old.

Our Cancer Services

Depending on the type of cancer and how far it has spread, BASS Cancer Center and the BASS Medical Group offers a wide range of treatment options, including surgery, radiation therapy, and systemic therapies.   

Our state-of-the-art cancer center features a full-service medical oncology clinic, including infusion suite, multiple exam rooms, and a PET/CT scanner. We also provide the most technologically advanced radiation oncology treatment in California. Our cancer experts use an Elekta VersaHD CT-Guided linear accelerator with Visionrt’s AlignRT Surface Guided technology (SGRT) and an MR-Guided Linear Accelerator (ViewRay MRIdian).

The VersaHD and MRIdian augment each platform’s capabilities and give the patient and BASS physician an unprecedented ability to tailor a radiotherapy treatment course best fit for each person’s case. Our AlignRT SGRT platform utilizes innovative optical technology to accurately track a patient’s position before and during treatment without exposing them to any additional radiation (commonly needed by other radiotherapy platforms for maintaining setup). Additionally, SGRT allows some patients the choice to avoid permanent marks on their bodies.