Causes

Lung Cancer

Anyone can be diagnosed with lung cancer. It affects men, women, smokers, ex-smokers and never smokers.  In fact, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men diagnosed with lung cancer have no history of smoking, and occupational exposure is known to contribute to 29% of lung cancer cases in men.

The cause of lung cancer, and other cancers, is not fully understood. However, it is thought that changes in the genes that program cell functions become faulty. This results in abnormal cell growth and/or multiplication. For many types of cancers, including lung cancer, external influences, such as lifestyle, diet, chemicals and environment, may trigger these faulty genes into action.

Tobacco smoking has been scientifically identified as a cause of lung cancer. However, people who have never smoked can also be diagnosed with the disease. The risk of developing lung cancer decreases in people who stop smoking, but they are still at higher risk than people who have never smoked. For information and support to quit smoking, visit Quit Now.

In addition to the above risk factors, other risk factors have also been identified as having a link to the development of tumour growth in the lungs.

These include:

Smoking

And exposure to second-hand smoke

Occupational exposure

Such as asbestos, dust and chemicals

Pollution

Such as chemical, radiation and radon exposure

Genetics

A family history of lung cancer increases the risk for the disease in both smokers and never-smokers.