Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is abnormal and uncontrollable cell growth in the lungs.  It is more often than not that lung cancer is associated with smoking. While there are actually two distinct types of lung cancer – non-small cell and small cell – nearly 9 out of 10 cases are the non-small cell types.

Early stages of lung cancer often present no signs or early symptoms.  As the disease progresses, bloody mucus, shortness of breath, wheezing, excessive coughing.  Surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation are treatment options for lung cancer.

Tobacco Use: More times than not, lung cancer is associated with smoking.  In fact, about 85% of lung cancer is caused by smoking.  The difference in risk of lung cancer for smokers and non-smokers is tremendous.  A person who smokes one pack of cigarette per day is 20 times more likely to develop lung cancer than a nonsmoker.  That number can grow exponentially for people who smoke more than one pack daily.  Furthermore, once a person has stopped smoking and in fact greatly reduces the chance of lung cancer, he or she will remain slightly more at risk for the disease than nonsmokers.

People who are subject to secondhand smoke are also more likely to develop lung cancer than those who live in smoke-free environments.  There are about 1,000 deaths per year that can be attributed to secondhand smoke.

Genetic predisposition: Familial medical history is a factor with most diseases, including lung cancer.  A person is more susceptible to lung cancer if the disease has been present within his or her immediate family.

Substance exposure: There are other substances besides those found in tobacco smoke that can lead to the development of lung cancer.  Of course smokers who are exposed to any other substance associated with the development of lung cancer is at even higher risk of lung cancer.  Constant exposure to asbestos can significantly increase the likelihood of developing lung cancer for workers compared to people who are not subject to exposure.  Other items that increase risk factor include silica, mineral dusts, coal dust, arsenic, or radon.

Other risk factors for lung cancer may include previously damaged lung tissue and poor diet.