Causes Of Lung Cancer Symptoms, Causes, Types, And More

causes of lung cancer

Whenever we hear about lung cancer, smoking is the only thing that comes to mind. Undoubtedly, smoking is a major factor in lung cancer. Thus smokers constitute 90% of the patients with lung cancer. However, there are other risk factors. For example, particle pollution, inhaling toxic gas, genetic mutation, etc. Generally, lung cancer occurs when lung cells are mutated. Particularly, the abnormal lung cells replace the normal cells. This replacement happens because of several factors. Here you will get to know the causes of lung cancer and how to prevent it. So, you will know what necessary steps you should take to prevent lung cancer.


In a word, smoking is a very common reason when it comes to lung cancer. In fact, more than 80-90% of cases of lung cancer are because of cigarette smoke. Besides, smoking causes other diseases apart from lung cancer. A cigarette contains carcinogenic (cancer-producing) chemicals that put your lungs at risk. More than 60 harmful toxins come from tobacco. A single cigarette may contain above 200 more chemicals. Even smoking only one cigarette each day can develop lung cancer gradually.

So, how does lung cancer develop by smoking? When you smoke, it destroys the lung tissues—also, the number of air spaces in the lungs decreases. Besides, abnormal cells replace lung cells. It’s known as metaplasia. To endure cigarette smoke, it transforms the cells. As a result, it destroys the elasticity of the healthy lungs. After all, it can develop carcinoma.

Unfortunately, non-smokers can also develop lung cancer from cigarette smoke. If you inhale cigarette smoke from home or work from smokers, it increases the risk. Researchers found a 20-30% chance of lung cancer from inhalation of cigarette smoke.

Risk Reduction:

  • Quit smoking. But it’s not easy like that. You have to overcome the habit gradually.
  • Don’t ever think to start smoking.
  • Avoid smoking areas.


These are the modern electric version of cigarettes. Also known as e-cigarettes or electronic cigarettes. The vaping liquid contains carcinogenic substances that can cause lung cancer. But there is still doubt if vaping causes lung cancer.

The nicotine in the vaping liquid can easily drive you to smoke because nicotine is very addicting. Ultimately it will develop cancer.

Vaping is becoming popular among teenagers today. It has been found that after finishing the liquid, they turn into cigarettes before the next refill. Some of them save the vaping liquid from smoking in other places. In the meantime, they puff onto cigarettes in normal places. This can develop lung cancer at an early age among teenagers.


Radon can be found in gaseous form. It’s tasteless, odorless, and colorless. It stays naturally in the soil. As it’s gas, it enters through small cracks in the buildings.

Radon is considered the 2nd biggest risk factor after smoking. Study shows that in the US, for every 15 homes, radon gas can be found in 1 home. For this reason, more than 2000 people die from lung cancer every year.

Risk Reduction:

  • There are radon testing kits. It’s cheap and can be bought from hardware stores. You can easily check your home for any radon exposure.
  • Another way is to check the blood. Go to the nearest clinic and check the blood for radon molecules. That’s how you can be sure of the exposure.

Particle Pollution

The chemicals, particles, and dust in the air can be trapped in your lungs. If you work in industries and between polluted particles, it’s most likely to develop lung cancer.

Risk Reduction:

  • For industrial exposure, you can use a gas mask. Besides, talk to the health and safety department about the protection.
  • Every day, check out the air quality forecast. Try to stay inside the building when the pollution is high.
  • Stop exercising near the highway. Choose a better location away from the road.


Most people use marijuana for smoking. The toxins found in marijuana are no less than tobacco. But it damages the lungs more than tobacco. Comparatively, marijuana can cover your lung four times greater with tar than cigarettes.

causes of lung cancer

Marijuana can be used in medication or even against tumors. Dose and route of administration make all the difference. If you smoke it in a higher amount, you may develop lung cancer.

Risk Reduction:

  • Don’t think about starting smoking marijuana.
  • If you take it for medication, consult with your doctor about it. It may cause dependency.


Asbestos is a mineral used in many products, for example, in cars and home products. Usually, when you are around it for too much time, it can develop cancer.

The tiny fibers of asbestos enter the lungs when you inhale. It gets stuck there. If you spend too much time around asbestos, the fibers can build up in your lungs. It makes your breathing harder. Mesothelioma is a term for cancer that happens from asbestos.

Risk Reduction:

  • Don’t spend too much time around asbestos products.
  • Search for the components of the products before buying.
  • If asbestos is work-related, then take proper caution every day. You can use a mask to prevent inhaling those fibers.

Genetic Mutation:

Genes are the basic component of heredity. Strands of DNA make up a gene. Any mutation in the DNA can cause cancer. If you have a family background of cancer, you might be at risk because there is a possibility of inheriting the cancer gene. Also, it’s not obvious that you will get cancer. But there’s always a risk.

Risk Reduction:

  • Gene-related lung cancer is something that you don’t have any hand in. So, you have to consult with your doctor to prevent it from happening.

Symptoms of Lung Cancer

Knowing the symptoms will help you detect lung cancer. The symptoms depend on the severity of the cancer.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe cough
  • Blood cough
  • Wheezing
  • Weight loss
  • Chest pain. It gets worse while under pressure, for example, deep breath, laughing, coughing.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pneumonia or bronchitis
  • Weakness

As cancer spreads, the symptoms get more severe and visible. Also, there is a certain relation between back pain and lung cancer. Most lung cancer patients have back pain. This happens due to the pressure of the tumor in the lungs. Besides, it also means that cancer cells have reached the ribs or spine.

Types of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer can be of two types.

  1. Small cell lung cancer
  2. Non-small cell lung cancer


Generally, lung cancer patients get four types of treatment. They are:

  1. Surgery: Through surgery, doctors directly cut the cancer cells.
  2. Radiation therapy: High-strength radiation kills the cancer cells.
  3. Chemotherapy: Shrinks the cancer cells through medicine. Usually, given through a vein and orally.
  4. Targeted therapy: Targets the cancer cells to inhibit the growth through medicines.

FAQ: Causes of Lung Cancer

Do non-smokers get lung cancer?

Smokers are at the highest risk of lung cancer. But non-smokers can also get lung cancer. Researchers found that among all the lung cancer patients, 10-20% are non-smokers. In this case, secondhand smoke plays a big role—besides family history, exposure to radiation or carcinogens, genetic mutation, and other factors. Usually, radon and secondhand smoke are the major risk factors for non-smokers.

What are the top 5 causes of lung cancer?

The top 5 causes of lung cancer are:

  1. Smoking/vaping
  2. Exposure to radon gas
  3. Exposure to secondhand smoke
  4. Exposure to radiation or carcinogens
  5. Family history of lung cancer

At what age does lung cancer occur?

Generally, most lung cancer patients are found at 65 or older. Older people are more prone to it. Because their old cells can not efficiently replace the abnormal cells, it does not mean the younger generation is not safe from it. A few people less than 45 are also diagnosed every year. If you live and eat healthily, there is almost zero chance of getting lung cancer.

How is lung cancer cured?

Various types of treatment can cure lung cancer. It depends on two things.

  1. Type of the cancer
  2. How much it has spread

There is chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and targeted therapy. Generally, chemo and radiation therapy destroy small cell lung cancer.

Can vaping cause lung cancer?

There is still doubt that vaping can cause cancer. Whether it produces cancer or not, vaping certainly is a risk factor. Vaping liquid contains harmful chemicals as well as tobacco. So, people who vape also smoke cigarettes. Non-smokers usually don’t go for vaping at first. So, that is how lung cancer can develop.

Final Thoughts

Undoubtedly, today’s air is more polluted than ever. Harmful chemicals, as well as smoking, are increasing the risk of lung cancer. Also, lung cancer grows fast among all cancers. Early diagnosis can easily save a person from the horror.

In this article, the causes of lung cancer are given. Also, you already know what to do in case of lung cancer. If you have any thoughts, please let us know in the comment.


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