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Lung Cancer Risk Factors  

The most common risk factors that can contribute to formation of cancerous cells in the lungs include:  

  • Excessive alcohol use – moderate consummation of alcohol represents almost no risk of cancer; however, heavy or/and regular consumption increases your risk of lung cancer and many other types of cancer.  
  • Sex - it is shown in many studies that withdrawal from cigarettes is more difficult in women than in men. In addition, women tend to inhale cigarette smoke more deeply than men do. This makes them more vulnerable to cancer than male smokers. However, the number of lung cancer death is 2.5 times higher for Hispanic / Latino men than women. 
  • Asbestos - ignoring its destructive effects, asbestos used to be used legally in homes, buildings and certain products because of its insulation and thermal properties. After many years of studies, scientists have discovered its damaging effects, and led to a control and a progressive restriction of its use. However, the use of asbestos is not completely eradicated. Exposure to asbestos is the major factor of mesothelioma, a rare form of chronic lung cancer.    
  • Radon - radon is a colorless, radioactive inert natural gas formed by radioactive decay of radium. Prolonged exposure to high concentrations can lead to its inhalation. Once inhaled, it can enter the lungs and other organs, which can lead to cancer. In fact, radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, killing about 20,000 Americans each year, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are five principal ways of reducing the amount of radon accumulating in a house: 

1)    Improving air circulation in the house and avoiding the transport of radon from the basement into living rooms;  

2)    Improving ventilationto sub floor areas;  

3)    Installing a sump system in the basement;  

4)    Sealing basement floors and walls;  

5)    And establishing a system of positive pressure ventilation (PPV).  

  • Air pollution - the air you breathe can be full of carcinogenic substances, which can penetrate your lungs and cause cancer. in addition, certain chemicals and minerals such as arsenic, beryllium, vinyl chloride, nickel chromates, coal products, mustard gas, gasoline, diesel exhaust, dust, talc, chromium (welders) vapors and oven gas increases the risk of lung cancer.  
  • Viruses – certain viruses such as human papillomavirus (HPV), JC virus (JCV), simian virus 40 (SV40), BK virus, and cytomegalovirus may affect the cell cycle and inhibit normal cellular division, which can lead to uncontrolled cell division in your lungs. 
  • Family history of lung cancer - if you have a relative suffering from lung cancer, your risk is higher compared to others who do not. However, you can reduce this risk by living a healthy lifestyle.  
  • Certain diseases - chronic pulmonary diseases can contribute significantly in the development of cancer cells in the lungs. These diseases may include but not limited to scleroderma, pneumonia or tuberculosis, and fibrosis (scar tissue) in the lungs. 
  • Diet low in fruits and vegetables - although a lack of these foods can not cause cancer, it is shown in many studies that all types of cancer are less frequent among consumers of fruits and vegetables rich in beta-carotene:  

a)    sweet potatoes 

b)     pumpkins 

c)    carrots 

d)    spinach  

e)    winter squash  

f)     All green vegetables. 

 

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