NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer - page 14

NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Version 1.2014
Part 2: Lung nodules
Older age
As you get older, you are more likely to get cancer,
including lung cancer. Half of the people who were
diagnosed with lung cancer in recent years were 70 years
old or older. Only 12 out of 100 people with lung cancer
were younger than age 55.
Tobacco smoking
Tobacco smoking is the biggest risk factor for lung
cancer. There are more than 50 compounds in tobacco
smoke known to cause cancer. Any smoking increases
your risk for lung cancer, but the more you smoke,
the higher your risk. If you quit smoking, your risk will
decrease. However, the risk for lung cancer is higher
for former smokers than for people who never smoked.
Thus, current or past tobacco smoking is a risk factor for
lung cancer.
If you smoke tobacco, ask your doctor about
counseling and drugs to help you quit.
In 1981, a link between second-hand smoke and lung
cancer was first suggested. Since then, many studies
have found that second-hand smoke can cause lung
cancer in people who don’t smoke. The more contact you
have with second-hand smoke, the higher your risk for
lung cancer.
Having had cancer
Your risk for lung cancer may be increased if you’ve had
cancer. Having had any type of lung cancer increases
your risk for other types of lung cancer. Likewise, if
you’ve had a 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 an alkylating
agent—a type of cancer drug—increases the risk for lung
cancer too.
Family who’ve had lung cancer
If a close blood relative has had lung cancer, your risk
for lung cancer is higher than a person with no family
history. Your risk is even higher if your relative had cancer
at a young age or if more than one relative has had lung
Cancer-causing agents
Uranium is a substance found in rocks and soil. As it
decays, a gas called radon is made and gets into air and
water. Miners of uranium have a high risk of developing
lung cancer. Some studies of radon found 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.
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