Are You at Risk for Lung Cancer?

What you need to know if you're concerned you're at risk.

Your chances of getting lung cancer increase when you are exposed to more than one risk factor. By eliminating your exposure to the following, you can reduce your risk:

  • Tobacco Smoke. It's important to limit your exposure to tobacco smoke as much as possible by quitting smoking and avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke. Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer and secondhand smoke can also increase a person’s risk.
  • Radon. This colorless, odorless, radioactive gas exists naturally in soil and enters buildings through gaps and cracks. You can buy a radon test kit at your local hardware store and test your own home.
  • Hazardous Materials. Working with hazardous substances such as asbestos, uranium, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nickel and some petroleum products can be dangerous to your lung health. If you think you may be breathing in hazardous chemicals at your job, talk to your employer and your doctor to find out how you can protect yourself.
  • Family history. Genetic factors also may play a role in one's chances of developing lung cancer. A family history of lung cancer may mean you are at a higher risk of getting the disease. If others in your family have or ever had lung cancer, it's important to mention this to your doctor.

Page last updated: March 22, 2020

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