Causes of Lung Cancer

Use of tobacco products has been shown to cause cancer . In fact , smoking tobacco , using smokeless tobacco , and being regularly exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke is responsible for a large number of cancer deaths in the U.S. each year . Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer . Scientists have reported extensively on the link between cancer and smoking since the 1960s . Since then , study after study has provided more evidence that smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer .

Before smoking became popular in the early part of the 20th century , doctors rarely , if ever , seen patients with lung cancer . But today , lung cancer is the leading cause of death by cancer . Nearly 90 percent of people with lung cancer develop because they smoke cigarettes .

If you smoke , you are at higher risk for lung cancer than people who never smoked . Risk of dying from lung cancer is 23 times higher for men who smoke and 13 times higher for women who smoked than those who had never smoked . Lung cancer can affect young and old alike .

Quitting smoking greatly reduces your risk for developing lung cancer . Once you stop , the risk levels off . Ten years after the last cigarette , the risk of dying from lung cancer drops by 50 percent - which does not mean , however , that risk is eliminated .

Cigar and pipe smoking also puts you at risk for lung cancer . Cigar and pipe smokers have a higher risk of developing lung cancer than nonsmokers . Even cigar and pipe smokers who do not inhale are at increased risk for lung , mouth , and other types of cancer . Likelihood that smokers will develop lung cancer is related to age of smoking initiation ; how long the person smoked , number of cigarettes , pipes , or cigars smoked per day , and how in the inhaled smoke .

Many studies have shown that non - smokers exposed to environmental tobacco smoke , also called passive smoking , increases the risk of lung cancer . Cigarette smoke is the smoke that non - smokers are exposed to when they share air space with someone who smokes . Each year , about 3,000 non - smoking adults die of lung cancer as a result of breathing secondhand smoke .

Radon exposure can put a person at risk for lung cancer , too . People who work in mines may be exposed to the gas is invisible , odorless , and radioactive materials that occur naturally in soil and rocks . It is also found in homes in some parts of the country . Kits are available at most hardware stores allows homeowners to measure radon levels in their homes .

Other substances that may contribute to lung cancer is asbestos . Asbestos is used in shipbuilding mining and manufacturing of asbestos , insulation work , and brake repair , although products with asbestos has been largely wiped out during the last few decades . If inhaled , asbestos particles can lodge in the lungs , damaging cells and increase the risk for lung cancer .

Asbestos workers must use protective equipment provided by their employers and follow recommended work practices and safety procedures .

Researchers continue to study the causes of lung cancer and to find ways to prevent it . We already know that the best way to prevent lung cancer is to quit or not start smoking . The sooner someone stops smoking the better . Even if you have smoked for many years , never too late to benefit from quitting smoking .