Navigating Lung Cancer Navigating Lung Cancer - Page 14

NAVIGATING LUNG CANCER Risks Smoking is the single greatest risk factor for lung cancer. Regular exposure to secondhand smoke also increases the risk. The risk seems to be dose-dependent. In other words, the more you smoke (more cigarettes, more years), the greater your risk. Research shows that quitting smoking at any time of your life decreases your risk. Other risk factors are the same as the causes for lung cancer: A history of cancer in another part of the body. People with a history of head and neck cancer or esophageal cancer, both associated with tobacco use, are at higher risk. People who have had breast, colon, or prostate cancer, are at increased risk. Age. Lung cancer risk increases with age. Only about 10% of cases occur in people younger than 50. Family history. If one of your parents, brother, or sister has had lung cancer, your risk may increase. Prior radiation therapy. Radiation is an important cancer treatment. Radiation to the chest area, especially for treatment of another cancer, seems to increase the risk. Exposure to radon, asbestos, and/or industrial chemicals. Radon, asbestos, arsenic, beryllium, and uranium have all been linked to lung cancer. Anyone who has worked with them may have an increased risk. Other lung disease. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), interstitial lung disease, and tuberculosis (TB) may increase lung cancer risk. Scarring of the lungs from other diseases may set the stage for lung cancer. Having more than one risk factor also increases your odds of developing lung cancer. A smoker with asbestos exposure has about four times the risk of developing lung cancer as a smoker without it. It’s 80 times the risk compared with someone who neither smoked nor was exposed to asbestos. 12