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.