Major Causes of Lung Cancer

Causes Of Lung CancerLung Cancer is broadly classified into two main types: non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. It is the result of cells that uncontrollably grow that start in one or both lungs. The abnormal cells divide rapidly and form tumors. Today, we are discussing about the various causes of lung cancer. Cigarette smoking is the principal risk factor responsible for the development of lung cancer.


The topmost cause behind lung cancer is smoke. With about 90% of lung cancer resulting from tobacco use, it is directly correlated with cigarette smoking. The risk of lung cancer increases with the number of cigarettes one smokes over the period of time. Pipe and cigar smoking also causes cancer but the risk is not as high as with that of cigarettes. Smoking damages the cells that are in line with lungs and when you inhale cigarette, changes in the lung tissues begin immediately. Although smoking is the primary cause behind lung cancer, but it can spread to non-smokers as well. Here, we also discuss about other causes of lung cancer as well.


Marijuana smoke is also harmful for the lungs. The smoke coming from marijuana has shown to contain most similar toxins, and carcinogens as that of tobacco smoke. Marijuana is usually smoked from pipes, blunts, bongs or other items.  The regular use of marijuana causes injury to the airways and an increase in respiratory symptoms.

Passive or Second Hand Smoking

Passive smoking or secondhand smoke is the inhalation of smoke from others. Those people who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at high risk of getting lung cancer.


Exposure to asbestos fibers is also one of the lung cancer causes. These were widely used in past for thermal and acoustic insulation materials. Now, the use is limited or even banned in many countries. Lung cancer is often associated with exposure to asbestos. The exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens is known to cause lung cancer. If you are a smoker, the risk of developing lung cancer arises even more.

Radon Gas

Radon Gas is a natural inert gas, a natural decay product of uranium. It is produced by natural breakdown of uranium and becomes a part of the air you breathe. The level of radon can even accumulate in homes.

Lung Disease

The presence of certain diseases of the lung also increases the risk of getting lung cancer.


Air pollution coming from vehicles, power plants and industries is also one of the causes of lung cancer. The breathing of polluted air and the prolonged exposure to highly polluted air carry a great risk for development of lung cancer.

Family History

Those whose parent, sibling or child has lung cancer, have an increased risk of the disease. The survivors of lung cancer also have a greater risk of developing second lung cancer. The family history of having lung cancer increases the chances of having one.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation treatment can have an effect on the development of tumors like lung cancer. The risk of developing solid tumor after radiation may go up when the radiation dose increases.  The effect of radiation depends on the dosage, the area treated and the age of the patient who is being treated.


Arsenic exposure and smoking can increase the risk of developing lung cancer. Arsenic is a natural element found in rocks and soil, and in water and air.

Do you know some other reasons responsible for the occurrence of lung cancer? Share them with us in the comments section below.


The information shared in this blog is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice.

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