The fact that cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer cannot be overstated.
Other risk factors for lung cancer include:
- Genetic predisposition: It is well known that some cancers, such as ovarian cancer and colon cancer, run in families. Although heredity’s role in lung cancer is not as well known, a family history of lung cancer does increase the risk to some degree. Having a genetic predisposition for a disease does not mean that you will get that disease, but your risk may be higher than that of the general population.
- Lung diseases: The presence of certain diseases of the lung, notably chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or tuberculosis, is associated with an increased risk for the development of lung cancer.
- Air pollution: It is believed prolonged exposure to highly-polluted air can carry a risk for developing lung cancer similar to that of passive smoking.