Is smoking the only cause of lung cancer or are there other factors that increase the risk of developing the disease? Here are the things you need to know about lung cancer, its prevention, and its available treatments.
Smoking is A Huge Factor
Most people who develop lung cancer were smokers, and even those who inhale secondhand smoke can also be at risk. This does not mean that you will surely have lung cancer, but you have a higher risk of developing the illness than those who do not smoke or inhale secondhand smoke. If a person decided to quit smoking, his/her chances of developing the illness might decrease, but it’s still not a guarantee. One type of lung cancer called small cell lung cancer affects mostly those who are heavy smokers.
Exposure to Carcinogens
Carcinogens are substances that can cause cancer, but they do not have to be substances that you take into your body like food. Prolonged exposure to them at home or at your workplace will increase your risk of getting lung cancer. Some carcinogens associated with the condition besides smoking are pollutants, workplace chemicals, chromium, arsenic, nickel, cadmium, beryllium, silica, coal products, chloromethyl ethers, vinyl chloride, mustard gas, diesel exhaust, and asbestos.
Exposure to Radon Gas
People who are also exposed to a radioactive gas called radon are also at risk. Radon is a natural byproduct of the broken-down uranium found in the earth, rocks, and water. It is generally safe, but if inhaled in high levels, it becomes a carcinogen. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to tell how much you have been exposed to because radon is part of the air that you breathe. There is a way to test the radon levels at home if you live in an area where radon levels may be high.
Family History of Cancer
Maybe you don’t smoke, but you have family members who have had had cancer. This will increase your risk of developing the disease, regardless of the type of cancer. However, most people affected by lung cancer are over the age 45, although young people are not exempted.
History of Lung Diseases
People who have had lung problems in the past are also at risk, especially if you are also a smoker. Diseases that damage the lungs or the airways can potentially cause respiratory problems such as tuberculosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Long-term lung diseases and lung infections such as pneumonia will be more difficult to treat among smokers.
Weak Immune System
People who get sick easily may have weak immune systems or they might have an existing condition that lowers their immunity such as HIV, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. Medications taken after organ transplants also affect a person’s immunity, as well as undergoing radiotherapy for other types of cancer will also put a person at risk for lung cancer.