What Causes Lung Cancer

The question, What Causes Lung Cancer? has numerous answers. Here are the most common reasons lung cancer develops.


I would walk a mile for a cancer, er eh, I mean Camel

Unlike other forms of cancer that can have multiple and often unknown causes, tobacco is responsible for 90% of lung cancer. This breaks down to 78% in men and 90% in women.

So if you smoke, you are over 13 times more likely to get lung cancer than if you do not. The more cigarettes you smoke the higher your risk. If you smoke 20 or more a day, you can have up to 20 times greater chance of getting lung cancer.

What about that 120 year old man somewhere who smoked every day of his life and had a shot of bourbon to boot? Yes, not everyone who smokes will get lung cancer. This does not let smokers off. Some will get other lung related diseases, some of which require tubes to be inserted in the chest wall to help relieve the pressure and make it easier to breath during the last several months of life spent in the health care system.

Factors that determine getting cancer include genetic susceptibility and other exposures.

Some studies indicate that the risk of lung cancer increases for two years after stopping then starts to decrease.

Lungs After Smoking

Second Hand Smoking

Second hand or passive smoke is recognized as a potential carcinogen or cancer causing agent by the US Environmental Agency. By one estimate, 15% of lung cancer diagnosis's in people who do not smoke may have been caused by those who do.

Cigarettes contains hundreds of chemicals which when turned to smoke, the new chemical compounds act as carcinogens.


Exposure to asbestos is associated with the causing lung cancer, malignant pleural mesothelioma, and pulmonary fibrosis and making a not a few lawyers wealthy.

Combo Complication

Tobacco smoke and asbestos exposure work together and increase the risk of cancer by 80-90%. But you may think that your not exposed to asbestos. Those who work in house renovation, insulation, plumbing and heating, and on car brakes are all exposed to asbestos. Even standing on the street corner where there is a higher incidence of cars stopping you will be exposed to increase levels of asbestos in the air.


Radon (Rn atomic number 86) is a colorless odorless, tasteless radio active gas formed from the decay of radium.

It is one of the heaviest substances that remains a gas under normal conditions and is considered to be a health hazard. The US Environmental Protection Agency lists radon exposure as the second most frequent cause of lung cancer and radon induced lung cancer as the 6th leading cause of cancer death overall.

According to the same sources, radon reportedly causes 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States.

Radon exposure is a known risk factor for lung cancer in uranium miners. Up to 3 percent of lung cancers annually are believed to be caused by radon exposure.

Big on the what causes lung cancer question list is household radon.

There is no clear evidence that household exposure to radon causes lung cancer. The answer to the question of what causes lung cancer is mulch-faceted. We will keep adding to this page in time.


HIV infection, by some estimates can increase the risk of lung cancer and other studies do not show this link.

AIDS and Glutathione


Aromatic polycyclic hydrocarbons, beryllium, nickel, copper, chromium, cadmium, and diesel exhaust all have been implicated in causing lung cancer.

Lung Cancer Glutathione Connection

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