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    Lung Cancer Risks & Symptoms

    Risk Factors


    Increasing age is a risk factor for lung cancer. It less common in people under age 40, with more patients diagnosed after age 45, and the largest number of cases in patients over age 65.


    Tobacco addiction is the most important risk factor in the development of lung cancer. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 different chemicals, many of which are proven carcinogens, which are substances that cause cancer. Cigarettes increase the chance of getting lung cancer and other smoking-related illnesses.

    Extended Exposure to Secondhand Smoke

    Over 3,000 lung cancer deaths a year are attributable to secondhand smoke.


    Radon is an invisible, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that occurs naturally in soil and rocks. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, with an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year related to radon exposure, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


    Many people with lung cancer have no symptoms until the disease has advanced into late stages. Some lung cancer symptoms are similar to those of other common illnesses. Advise your physician of your medical history and social history to assist in a prompt and accurate diagnosis.

    When lung cancer does cause symptoms, they can include the following:

    • Coughing
    • Shortness of breath
    • Fatigue
    • Wheezing
    • Pain in chest, shoulder, upper back, or arm
    • Coughing up blood
    • Repeated pneumonia or bronchitis
    • Loss of appetite and weight loss
    (Source: Lung Cancer Alliance www.lungcanceralliance.org)

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