Lung Cancer Risk Factors

Anything that increases your chance of getting lung cancer is a risk factor. Smoking is the main risk factor for lung cancer.

  • Smoking tobacco in cigarettes, cigars or pipes is responsible for 87% of lung cancer cases in the United States
  • The more years you smoke and the greater amount you smoke, the higher your risk of lung cancer
  • If you stop smoking, your risk becomes lower as time goes by
  • If you smoke and have other risk factors, your chance of getting lung cancer is higher

Other risk factors for lung cancer include:

  • Family history of lung cancer
  • Previous lung cancer
  • Exposure to certain materials including radiation, arsenic, radon, chromium, nickel, soot, tar or asbestos
  • Radiation therapy to the breast or chest
  • Air pollution
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Lung diseases such as tuberculosis (TB)

Not everyone with risk factors develops lung cancer. However, if you have risk factors, it’s a good idea to discuss them with your doctor.