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Top Causes of Lung Cancer

written by: VickieDawn • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 8/30/2010

The top ten causes for lung cancer - what are they and can they be avoided? Is it possible to eliminate the risks of the disease by making life style changes? Find out what your risks might be.

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    According to the American Cancer Society, 2009 statistical estimates for the onset of lung cancer cases are 219,440 per year. An estimated 159,390 die from the disease each year and the five-year survival rate for localized lung cancer is fifty-percent. That estimate drops dramatically when all stages of the disease are included to just fifteen percent. The top ten causes for lung cancer include many environmental elements as well as heredity. Environmental conditions that cause the majority of lung cancers are found in occupational arenas.

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    Top Causes of Lung Cancer

    1. Smoking is at the top of the list of the top ten causes for lung cancer. Cigarettes, cigars and pipes, all carry risks of acquiring the third highest cancer in the country. Lung cancer follows prostate and breast cancers as the most prevalent.

    The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 160,000 smokers acquire lung cancer each year. The estimate for people exposed to second-hand smoke is 3,000 per year.

    2. The second largest contributor to lung cancer is radon. Radon gas detection is difficult because it can not be seen or smelled. The United States Environmental Protection Agency quotes a 2006 study by the National Safety Council that, 20,000 people die every year from lung cancer caused by radon gas. Radon is the result of uranium decay. It travels as a gas through foundation cracks and into the air. There are ways to eliminate the danger of radon gas in private homes and buildings by installing a vent pipe, and a fan that will disseminate the gas away from the foundation and into the air.

    People should be proactive and have their homes tested. Radon detection kits can be purchased for home use through environmental stores and state radon offices.

    3. Asbestos is the third known cause of lung cancer. The use of the product has been restricted since the 1970s, but cases of mesothelioma, the lung cancer caused from asbestosis, is still very prevalent.

    4. Radioactiveoris (uranium) found in mining are a known carcinogen.

    5. Chemical carcinogens such as benzene and coal are found in many work places.

    6. Radiation from chest x-rays can cause lung cancer.

    7. Arsenic, a metal used in pesticides is a known carcinogen.

    8. Research conducted by The Genetic Epidemiology of Lung Cancer Consortium (GELCC), reported in 2004, the discovery of a genetic marker on chromosome 6 that leads to a susceptibility for lung cancer.

    9. Dietary supplements are included in the list of carcinogens. Cases have shown that smoking and beta carotene do not mix and increases the risk of lung cancer.

    10. Air pollution is known to cause 5% of all lung cancer cases.

    Two additional carcinogens that are worth mentioning are talc and talcum powder known to contain asbestos and shredded parts of the hemp plant known as marijuana. Marijuana contains many of the same chemicals as tobacco and it contains tar. Detailed studies have not been successful because of the illegal status of the drug.

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    Symptoms

    Detecting lung cancer is important in the early stages. Symptoms that should cause you to see a doctor according to The National Cancer Institute are: persistent cough, coughing up blood, hoarseness, chronic chest pain, weight loss, exhaustion, lung infections and trouble breathing.

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    Prevention

    The first prevention from lung cancer is not to smoke. If you do smoke, find the best support program that will assist you in quitting.

    Avoid known carcinogens if possible. Get your home tested for radon and take necessary steps to reduce the presence of the gas.

    Workers should wear masks when exposed to certain chemicals that cause cancer.

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    Statistics

    States with the highest lung cancer rate are Kentucky, West Virginia, Delaware, Tennessee and Oklahoma. Men get lung cancer more than women according to the Center for Disease Control.

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    Education can help you prevent lung cancer. It may not be a guarantee but it will increase your chances of living a healthy life.

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    References

    CDC: Lung Cancer Prevention

    http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/lung/basic_info/prevention.htm

    EPA: Radon Health Risks

    http://www.epa.gov/radon/healthrisks.html

    American Cancer Society: Lung Cancer (Small Cell)

    http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/LungCancer-SmallCell/DetailedGuide/small-cell-lung-cancer-risk-factors

    National Cancer Institute: Location of Potential Familial Lung Cancer Gene Discovered

    http://www.cancer.gov/newscenter/pressreleases/lungcancerlocus