Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer.1
Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, and the leading cause in people who have never smoked.3 For more information about radon and testing your home, please visit EPA.gov/radon.
Other risk factors include:1
- lung scarring from tuberculosis
- occupational or environmental exposure to:
• secondhand smoke
• air pollution
• some organic chemicals
Genetic predisposition may also play a role in lung cancer development.1
People who have never smoked account for between 20,000 and 30,000 lung cancer diagnoses every year.5
As more people quit smoking, the percentage of cancers diagnosed in people who used to smoke will continue to increase.6
1 American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2017. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2017.
2 SEER Stat Fact Sheets. Surveillance Research Program, National Cancer Institute. http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/.
3 National Research Council. Health Effects of Exposure to Radon: BEIR VI. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1999.
4 Burns DM. Primary prevention, smoking, and smoking cessation: Implications for future trends in lung cancer prevention. Cancer, 2000. 89:2506–2509.
5 Thun, MJ, et al. Lung Cancer Occurrence in Never-Smokers: An Analysis of 13 Cohorts and 22 Cancer Registry Studies. PLOS Medicine, 2008. 5(9): e185.
6 Satcher, D, Thompson, TG and Kaplan, JP. Women and smoking: a report of the Surgeon General. Nicotine Tob Res, 2002. 4(1): 7-20.
7 Park, ER, et al. A snapshot of smokers after lung and colorectal cancer diagnosis. Cancer, 2012. 118(12): 3153-3146.
8 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Funding for FY014: http://report.nih.gov/categorical_spending.aspx (accessed 1/15/15)
9 Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs Funding for FY014: http://cdmrp.army.mil/ (accessed 1/15/15)
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