Why Some People Don’t Smoke, but Still Get Lung Cancer

Although lung cancer is mostly found among smokers, various other factors can also result in this deadly disease. (Image:  wikimedia /  CC0 1.0)
Although lung cancer is mostly found among smokers, various other factors can also result in this deadly disease. (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

Although lung cancer is mostly found among smokers, various other factors can also result in this deadly disease. In fact, around one-fifth of lung cancer patients are people who have never smoked even once in their entire life. As such, knowing about the causes of lung cancer can go a long way in keeping yourself safe from it.

Inhaling second-hand smoke

People who tend to be in situations where they are exposed to second-hand smoke will inevitably be at risk for lung cancer. And as per various estimates, up to 35 percent of victims of lung cancer contract the disease due to regular inhalation of second-hand smoke. As such, if you are ever in a place where you are likely to be exposed to such smoke, you should try and search for a spot with clean air. Similarly, if you have children and elderly in your home, then ensure that you do not smoke inside the house. Get away from the home and smoke in the open.

Breathing polluted air

Air pollution is also fast becoming a major reason for lung cancer. The large amounts of pollutants being put up in the environment by vehicles, industries, etc. have made the outdoor air so toxic that even children and teenagers start developing lung cancer since they have been breathing in the polluted air right from their birth. In fact, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified outdoor air as a cancer risk. In addition to outdoor air, indoor air pollution can also end up causing lung cancer. This is especially true in homes where cooking over a fire with solid fuels like coal and wood is done without proper ventilation.

Air pollution is also fast becoming a major reason for lung cancer. (Image: Kevin Dooley via flickr CC BY 2.0 )

Exposure to radon

Another big cause of lung cancer is radon exposure. When uranium breaks down, radon gas is generated. The gas is usually quite harmless and will dissipate in the air with no risk to anyone. However, if the gas were to be trapped or gets concentrated in some spots, then it can become quite dangerous. For example, the lower floors of some homes are known to leak radon gas. Though inhaling it for short intervals won’t do much damage, you can easily contract lung cancer if you breathe the gas for too long. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to detect whether your home is exposed to radon gas since it literally has no odor.

Asbestos exposure

People who are constantly exposed to asbestos also have a higher chance of being affected with lung cancer. This includes people who are into jobs like property construction, building ships, etc. The airborne asbestos can enter your lungs when you inhale the air, eventually resulting in a cancerous growth.

People who are constantly exposed to asbestos also have a higher chance of being affected with lung cancer. (Image: MetalFusion81 via flickr CC BY-SA 3.0)

People who are constantly exposed to asbestos also have a higher chance of being affected with lung cancer. (Image: MetalFusion81 via flickr CC BY-SA 3.0)

Hereditary risks

Lung cancer has also been discovered to be hereditary. So if anyone in your family lineage has had lung cancer, then your chances of contracting it skyrockets. The closer you are to the person with lung cancer, the more at risk you are. Your chances of lung cancer are more if your father has suffered from it compared to a situation where your uncle was the victim.

History of lung diseases

Those who have suffered from lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, tuberculosis, etc. are likelier to have scarring and inflammation in their lungs. This can also result in lung cancer.

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