- Smoking – Smoking is responsible for 87% of lung cancers.
- Lack of exercise – People who engage in moderate exercise are less likely to develop lung cancer.
- Unhealthful diet – A higher intake of foods, such as salads, is associated with a lower risk of developing lung cancer.
- Excess alcohol – An excess intake of alcohol may raise the risk of lung cancer in smokers.
- Radon – Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, following smoking, and the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers.
- Asbestos – Exposure to asbestos is responsible for the majority of mesothelioma, a rare tumor involving the lining of the lungs.
- Secondhand smoke – Secondhand smoke increases the risk of lung cancer in nonsmokers two- to- three-fold.
- Air pollution – Pollution, especially in urban areas, appears to raise the risk of lung cancer.
- Industrial chemicals – Several chemicals used in commerce are linked with a higher risk of lung cancer.
- Radiation – Atomic bomb survivors have an elevated risk of developing lung cancer, as do those who have undergone radiation therapy for other types of cancer, such as Hodgkin’s disease.
More About Environmental Causes of Lung Cancer
Occupational CausesOccupational exposure to carcinogens is estimated to be responsible for 13 to 29% of lung cancers in men.
More About Occupational Causes of Lung Cancer
Other Lung Diseases
People who suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) have an elevated risk of developing lung cancer irrespective of smoking history.
In general, a genetic predisposition to lung cancer does not mean someone will develop lung cancer. It means they are more likely to develop lung cancer, especially when combined with other risk factors. Research looking at the role of heredity in the development of lung cancer is in its infancy, but researchers are beginning to isolate some of the genetic changes that are associated with an increased risk of lung cancer.
More About Genetics/Family History and Lung Cancer Risk
Infectious Lung Cancer Causes
Research looking at infectious diseases as a possible cause of lung cancer is also in its infancy. Infectious agents that have been associated with lung cancer in newer studies include: chlamydia pneumoniae, human papilloma virus (HPV), and measles.
Does HPV Cause Lung Cancer?