Who's at Risk of Lung Cancer?

Every cancer that occurs has a different cause and there are different risk factors that can cause that cancer to occur.
For example, a person can get skin cancer if he or she bathes in the sun with their skin unprotected, so the sunlight becomes a risk factor for skin cancer.
As we have already discussed in the etiology section as to the causes of the cancer, those are risk factors that cause the lung cancer and if people are exposed to that, they are likely to have it. We will go through it briefly again as it is really very important to discuss on them in detail:
The risk factor that stands on top of all others is the relation of lung cancer with smoking.

Risk factors for small cell lung cancer include:

  • Cigarette smoking is the most known cause of lung cancer. It includes smoking of cigarettes, cigars, or pipes.
  • Being exposed to second hand smoke.
  • Being exposed to asbestos or radon.

According to the data up to about 90 percent of lung cancer patients are or have been smokers and as many as 10% left have been exposed to second-hand cigarette smoke.
Tobacco contains a lot of hazardous substances, which are called as carcinogens present in tobacco and along with time, the smoke damage the cells in the lungs. It is then that these cells are damaged they can become cancerous. There is a chance that the damaged lung tissues return to normal before it starts to change it normal anatomy and physiology only if a person stops smoking.
According to the researchers it is really difficult to predict as to which smokers have a greater chance of developing lung cancer, a very difficult statement to make, but there are certain things that are acknowledged in determining the people who are at greater risk of developing lung cancer. Those points are listed as follows:

  • The age they began smoking.
  • How long they have smoked.
  • How many cigarettes per day they smoke.

Cigars and Pipes

People who smoke cigars and pipes have a higher chance of having lung cancer than those who are nonsmokers. There are several other factors that have also been taken into consideration.

  • The number of years that an individual has smoked.
  • The number of pipes or cigars they smoked per day.
  • How deeply did they inhale the smoke.

Thus considering the fact that the people who do not inhale the smoke are still at a greater risk of developing diseases of mouth, lung and other types of malignancy knowing that the cigar, cigarette and pipe smoke contains several carcinogens in them.


Marijuana is also known as “weed, “pot” and the smokers of marijuana do not know that the smoke contains a greater quantity of tar than the cigarettes. There is another fact that needs to be highlighted here that many pot smokers don’t realize is that marijuana is inhaled very deeply and the smokers hold the smoke in the lungs for a long time. There are many chemicals in marijuana that are being known as the cancer causing substances.

A person who has had lung cancer on one occasion is more liable to develop a second lung cancer than a person who has never had the disease. Stopping smoking after lung cancer has been known to help prevent the development of a second lung cancer.


The data suggests that the women who smoke or are exposed to tobacco smoke have a high prevalence of developing lung cancer than men. There is a gene that has been found known as GRPR, which is a culprit in causing unusual cell growth in people exposed to cigarette smoke. According to the study this gene is more active in women than in men and may explain why females are more prone to lung cancer.


Another research suggests that the diets low in fruits and vegetables may increase the chances of developing cancer if a person is exposed to tobacco smoke. It is suggested that fruits and vegetables may protect against lung cancer.


There are certain lung diseases that also cause a person to have lung cancer such as tuberculosis (TB) can increase a person's chance of developing lung cancer. Adenocarcinoma lung cancer seems to develop in areas of the lung scarred from TB.

Some Brutal Facts about Lung Cancer

  • Lung cancer swallows more people than any other form of cancer.
  • Since lung cancers are diagnosed at a relatively late stage, there are only about 10% of all the lung cancer patients who are eventually cured.
  • The data suggests that 8 out of 10 lung cancers are due to tobacco smoke.

There is another very threatening data by American Cancer Society that estimates that about 164,000 new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed yearly in the United States and an approximate 157,000 people die from the disease each year.


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