NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Lung Cancer - Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
14 NCCN Guidelines for Patients ® : Lung Cancer – Non-Small Cell, 2018 2 Assessing lung nodules Your cancer risk In 1981, a link between second-hand smoke and lung cancer was first suggested. Since then, other studies have found the risk for lung cancer is greater for people exposed to second-hand smoke. However, the risk may depend on how much contact a person has had. Older age As you get older, you are more likely to get 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. Having had cancer Your risk for lung cancer may be increased if you’ve had certain types of 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. Some cancer treatments also increase risk. The risk for lung cancer increases after receiving radiation therapy in the chest, 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 your parent, sibling, or child 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. Your risk is also higher if more than one relative has had lung cancer. Cancer-causing agents There are 11 known agents to cause lung cancer. You are more likely to have lung cancer after having major contact with these agents. The risk after exposure is higher for those who smoke than for those who don’t smoke. Asbestos Exposure to asbestos can cause lung cancer especially if you smoke. Asbestos is a group of minerals made of tiny fibers. It has been used in housing and commercial products, such as roofing and brake pads. Asbestos can break into tiny pieces that may be breathed in or swallowed. The pieces can then get trapped in the lungs and remain there for years. Uranium and radon Uranium is a cancer-causing agent. It 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. Other agents Five metallic metals known to cause lung cancer are arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, and nickel. Other cancer-causing agents include coal smoke, soot, silica, and diesel fumes. Other lung diseases Two lung diseases have been linked to lung cancer. A history of COPD ( c hronic o bstructive p ulmonary d isease) increases your risk for lung cancer. COPD makes breathing hard because the lung tissue is damaged or there’s too much mucus. The second disease linked to lung cancer is pulmonary fibrosis. Pulmonary fibrosis is major scarring of lung tissue that makes it hard to breathe. If you smoke, ask your treatment team for help to quit.