What are the causes of lung cancer?

Medically reviewed by | By

Update Date 12/05/2020 . 3 mins read

Your doctor probably just told you that you have lung cancer. It is one of the most common types of cancer affecting millions of people every year, worldwide. It is hard to know the exact cause of your lung cancer. But experts have discovered many possible causes as well as risk factors that can contribute to your diagnosis.

Possible causes of lung cancer

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking is the cause for about 90% of lung cancer cases. Studies suggest that lung cancer is caused by a mutation in your DNA. The body is constantly renewing itself by dividing, replicating and forming new cells. When your body is exposed to too much toxins, the damage becomes more than the body can repair. Overtime the cells can grow abnormally at an uncontrollable rate. This is when cancer can develop.

Tobacco and tobacco smoke contain more than 7,000 chemicals such as nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide, which are cancerous. Even if you are not a smoker, you can still be at risk when you live with an active smoker. Second hand smoke is just as dangerous as active smoking.

Smoking is not the only toxin that can harm your lungs and cause lung cancer. Inhaling harmful, cancer-causing substances (carcinogens) like asbestos and radon also damages the cells that line your lungs. Over time, the damage causes cells to act abnormally and eventually cancer may develop. Some other dangerous chemical to the lungs can be found in work place such as:

  • Radon;
  • Asbestos;
  • Arsenic;
  • Beryllium;
  • Cadmium;
  • Vinyl chloride;
  • Nickel compounds;
  • Chromium compounds;
  • Coal products;
  • Mustard gas;
  • Chloromethyl ethers;
  • Diesel exhaust.

These chemicals can be found in the air you breathe. It is dangerous because it is usually odorless and tasteless, making it hard to detect. These chemicals can seep into your house or work place.

Risk factors that can contribute to your lung cancer

There are other risk factors that can cause your lung cancer. Here are some risk factors you should know about:

  • Family history. If you have anyone in your family that has lung cancer, most likely this contributed to your lung cancer.
  • Lung cancer usually affects older adults. Your risk is higher when you are 65 years or older. The average age is about 70 years old.
  • History of lung disease. If you have already have a chronic lung disease or have had one in the past, this can cause your lung cancer. Lung disease may include tuberculosis, chronic bronchitits and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These lung disease causes inflammation and scarring in the lungs which can lead to lung cancer.
  • Radiation therapy to the chest. Radiation therapy used to treat other cancers can make you more at risk for lung cancer, especially if you are a smoker.
  • Secondhand smoke. Not many people realize but being around people who smoke can make you more at risk for lung cancer. You are still inhaling the cancerous chemicals from the smoke.
  • In order for your body to repair damaged cells, essential nutrients are needed. When you don’t have a healthy balanced diet with fruits and vegetables, you lack these nutrients. This increases your risk for lung cancer.

Even when you have lung cancer, it is important to know what factors are causing damage to your lungs. By managing your risk factors, you can slow down the progression of your lung cancer. Just by stopping smoking can make a big difference.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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