Many times, people are exposed to harmful substances, participate in activities, or have family history that may increase their risk of lung cancer. Activities such as smoking and exposure to substances like secondhand smoke, radon, asbestos or arsenic can all increase your risk of developing lung cancer.
How much do these factors impact your risk? Take individuals who smoke cigarettes for example. People who currently smoke cigarettes containing tobacco are 15 to 30 times more likely to develop lung cancer. What’s more, 9 out of 10 cases of lung cancer in men and 8 out of 10 cases in women are attributed to tobacco smoking. If you’ve recently reduced your intake or quit the habit entirely, congratulations! But be mindful that while your risk is now substantially lower, it remains elevated—so it’s important to talk to your doctor about lung cancer screening options. If you are still working to quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for help.
Although smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, anyone with lungs can get it. That’s why it’s important to be on the lookout for any signs of the disease and alert your health care provider about any symptoms, even if you don’t have any of the typical risk factors for the disease.
Not smoking (or quitting if you do smoke), avoiding secondhand smoke, testing your home and workplace for radon, reducing radiation exposure, and getting screened regularly if at high-risk are all ways to reduce your risk of developing lung cancer.