Did you know twenty-five percent of lung cancer patients have never smoked? While cigarettes are an undeniable cause of cancer, there are other factors that can put even non-smokers at risk.
3 lesser-known causes of lung cancer
Lung cancer can affect anyone, so if you think you’re safe from lung cancer because you’ve never smoked, you may want to think twice. Here are a few lesser-known causes of lung cancer:
- Radon exposure
Radon is a naturally occurring, cancer-causing radioactive gas that causes approximately 26 percent of lung cancer deaths among non-smokers. It is often found in rock, soil and surface water and can be found in 1 out of every 15 homes in the U.S.
- Asbestos exposure
Used for both a thermal and acoustic insulation throughout the 1950s and 1960s, asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals. Fortunately, it only becomes a health risk if it is disturbed and the fibers are inhaled. Both lung cancer and mesothelioma are associated with asbestos exposure.
- Passive smoking
Anyone living with a smoker is approximately 25 percent more likely to develop lung cancer. In fact, second-hand smoke is responsible for more than 3,000 U.S. deaths each year.
Signs and symptoms of lung cancer
Approximately 25 percent of people who have lung cancer will not have any symptoms before they’re diagnosed. By the time a person exhibits signs or symptoms, the lung cancer has often progressed beyond stage 1. Here are a few signs and symptoms of lung cancer:
- Coughing not associated with a cold or other respiratory infection
- Difficulty swallowing
- Dull, persistent chest pain
- Hemoptysis, or coughing up blood, is one of the most common signs of lung cancer
Treatment options for lung cancer
Depending on how advanced the lung cancer is, there are different treatment options available:
- Surgery – Physical removal of the cancer, typically combined with chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- Chemotherapy – A combination of drugs used to destroy cancer cells
- Radiation therapy – High-powered energy beams from x-rays and protons are used to destroy cancer cells
- Targeted drug therapy – A specific set of drugs, called inhibitors, target certain enzymes to help regulate cell growth
- Immunology – Certain medications help stimulate the body’s immune system, often used in combination with another treatment
When you need exceptional lung cancer treatment in San Antonio, visit the START Center for Cancer Care. Our mission is to provide the highest-quality care for people with cancer, help accelerate the development of new treatments to improve our patients’ lives and give them real hope against cancer. Contact us at 210-593-5790 to learn how our cancer care services can help you.