NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Lung Cancer Screening
decrease. However, the risk for lung cancer is higher for
former smokers than people who never smoked. Thus,
current or past tobacco smoking is a risk factor for lung
If you smoke tobacco, ask your doctor about
counseling and drugs to help you quit.
Uranium is a metallic chemical found in rocks and soil.
As it decays, radon is made and gets into air and water.
Miners of uranium have a high risk for developing lung
cancer. Some studies of radon in the home have linked
radon to lung cancer while other studies have not. The
risk for lung cancer may depend on how much radon is
in the home. For people who’ve had contact with radon,
such as uranium miners, the risk for lung cancer is higher
for those who smoke than for those who don’t smoke.
Other cancer-causing agents
Besides radon, 10 other agents are known to cause
lung cancer. Five are metallic chemicals: arsenic,
beryllium, cadmium, chromium, and nickel. The others
are asbestos, coal smoke, soot, silica, and diesel fumes.
Among people who’ve had contact with these agents,
the risk for lung cancer is higher for those who’ve
smoked than for those who’ve never smoked.
History of other cancers
Your risk for lung cancer may be increased if you’ve
had other cancers. Having had small cell lung cancer
increases your risk of developing cancer in other types
of lung cells. Likewise, if you’ve had another smoking-
related cancer, like head and neck cancer, your risk
for lung cancer is increased. The risk for lung cancer
increases after receiving radiation therapy in the chest
for other cancers, especially if you smoke. Treatment of
Hodgkin’s lymphoma with alkylating agents—a type of
cancer drug—increases the risk for lung cancer too.
Part 2: Am I at risk?
1 in 14 people will
develop lung cancer