There are many ways a person can develop lung cancer, but smoking tobacco accounts for 90% of all lung cancer developments. Tobacco use is given most of the credit for this, in the forms of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and second-hand smoke.
Tobacco use is the most well known cause, but what causes lung cancer besides smoking? There are dangers to your lungs that you may not even have known about, some possibly residing in your own home.
Tobacco-Based Lung Cancer
In tobacco, what is it that causes lung cancer? It is the combination of the dried tobacco leaves and additives that makes it so harmful to inhale. Smoke from tobacco products has over 7,000 chemicals, seventy of which include known carcinogens. Carcinogens are the components that studies have shown cause cancer. These additives can even cause other lung diseases, and some heart diseases as well. All of them are deadly.
Some of the chemicals are even radioactive, depending on how the tobacco was grown. Over time, these chemicals build up in the lungs and can result in a cumulative dose of radiation. This can work to help the cancer in its growth. Smoke from tobacco products has tar, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxide. The addictive ingredient, nicotine, is one of the strongest drugs added to tobacco, making smoking all the more deadly.
All of this makes your lungs weaker and more susceptible to other invasive gasses.
What Causes Other Lung Cancers?
Quieter causes of lung cancer are asbestos, familial predisposition, and radon gas. These are all contributors that can slip through the cracks easily and are not usually the fault of the affected.
Asbestos can last an entire lifetime in a single person’s lung tissue. The fibers are silicate and exist commonly in workplaces built a long time ago. Thermal and sound insulation used to use products with asbestos fibers in them. Today, it is banned in the United States because it was so strongly linked to the development of lung cancer. Smoking does increase the chance of contracting asbestos-related lung cancer.
Familial predisposition, while not a cause, is a great contributor to how likely a person is to get lung cancer. Studies have shown that it is more likely to occur in families that have a history of lung cancer than the general population.
Radon gas is a naturally created chemical that comes from the decay of uranium. It is ionized radiation. It travels through soil and can enter homes through pipes, drains, or foundation gaps. Just like asbestos, smoking increases the chance of contracting it. It is odorless and invisible, but can be found using a simple test kit.