Big causes of lung cancer you need to know

Credit: Unsplash+

Lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer worldwide and also one of the deadliest. Understanding its causes can help people take preventive measures and scientists to develop better treatments.

This article explores the common causes of lung cancer, the research behind them, and presents this information in a straightforward manner, making it accessible to everyone.

The primary cause of lung cancer is smoking tobacco. Smoking is responsible for about 85% of lung cancer cases. When you inhale smoke, harmful substances called carcinogens damage the cells in your lungs.

Over time, this damage can cause cells to grow uncontrollably, leading to cancer. The risk of lung cancer increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day and the number of years a person has smoked.

Quitting smoking, even after many years, can significantly reduce the risk of developing lung cancer.

However, lung cancer can also occur in people who have never smoked. In these cases, other factors may play a role:

Environmental Exposure: Radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is a natural radioactive gas that comes from the decay of uranium in the soil and rocks beneath our homes.

It can accumulate in buildings, particularly basements and other low-lying areas, and prolonged exposure to high levels of radon can lead to lung cancer.

Air pollution, particularly from vehicles and industrial emissions, also contributes to lung cancer. Studies have shown that people living in highly polluted areas have a higher risk of developing the disease.

Pollutants in the air can contain carcinogens similar to those found in cigarette smoke.

Exposure to asbestos, a group of minerals used in construction and other industries, can cause a specific type of lung cancer called mesothelioma. Asbestos fibers, when inhaled, can lodge in the lungs and irritate the lung tissues and eventually lead to cancer.

Genetic Factors: There is a genetic component to lung cancer as well. People with a family history of lung cancer may have a higher risk of developing the disease.

Researchers are studying specific genes that might influence a person’s susceptibility to lung cancer, particularly in non-smokers.

Lifestyle Factors: Diet and exercise appear to have some influence on lung cancer risk, although the connections are not as strong as those for other types of cancer.

Diets high in fruits and vegetables may offer some protection against lung cancer, while physical activity might also reduce the risk.

Infectious Diseases: Certain infections may increase the risk of lung cancer. For example, people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), often related to smoking, have a higher risk of lung cancer. Infections that cause inflammation in the lungs, such as tuberculosis, might also increase risk.

Research into lung cancer is continuously evolving. Scientists are developing targeted therapies that attack specific types of lung cancer cells, minimizing damage to normal cells.

Immunotherapy, which boosts the body’s immune system to fight cancer, has shown promising results in treating some types of lung cancer.

The ongoing research also focuses on early detection. Detecting lung cancer early significantly improves the chances of successful treatment.

Techniques like low-dose CT scans are being studied and used to screen high-risk individuals, such as long-time smokers and those with a significant exposure to radon or asbestos.

Understanding the causes of lung cancer and the latest research can empower individuals to make informed decisions about their health and seek appropriate screening and treatment.

As research progresses, the hope is that more effective treatments and preventive measures will become available, reducing the impact of this serious disease.

If you care about lung health, please read studies about marijuana’s effects on lung health, and why some non-smokers get lung disease and some heavy smokers do not.

For more information about health, please see recent studies that olive oil may help you live longer, and vitamin D could help lower the risk of autoimmune diseases.

Copyright © 2024 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.