A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease such as cancer. But different types of cancer have different risk factors.
For example, if you sunbathe unguarded from the sun, you run the risk of skin cancer as exposure to strong sunlight is a risk factor for this type of cancer.
There are several risk factors which can make you more likely to develop lung cancer:
Researchers have discovered there are several causes of lung cancer and most of them are related to smoking.
Risk factors for small cell lung cancer include:
- Smoking cigarettes are the most well-known cause of lung cancer. This includes the smoking of cigarettes, cigars, or pipes in the past.
- Being exposed to second hand smoke.
- Being exposed to asbestos or radon.
Up to 90 percent of lung cancer patients are or have been smokers. Many of the 10% left have been exposed to second-hand cigarette smoke.
There are dangerous substances, called carcinogens in tobacco and over time they damage the cells in the lungs. These damaged cells can then become cancerous. If you stop smoking before a cancer starts to develop, the damaged lung tissue has a chance to gradually return to normal.
It’s difficult to predict which type of smoker is at greater risk of developing lung cancer, though in general, a smoker’s probability of developing cancer depends on:
- The age they began smoking
- How long they have smoked
- How many cigarettes per day they smoke.
Cigar and pipe smokers have a higher risk of lung cancer than non smokers. Several factors also have to be taken into consideration.
- The number of years someone smokes
- The number of pipes or cigars they smoked per day
- How deeply they inhaled
- All affect the risk of developing lung cancer. Even cigar and pipe smokers who don’t inhale are at increased risk for lung, mouth, and other types of malignancy.
Many “pot” smokers don’t realise Marijuana contains more tar than cigarettes. Marijuana in addition is inhaled very deeply and the smoke held in the lungs for a long time. Many of the cancer-causing substances in tobacco are also found in marijuana.
A person who has had lung cancer on one occasion is more liable to develop a second lung cancer than a person who has never had the disease. Stopping smoking after lung cancer has been diagnosed helps prevent the development of a second lung cancer.