While November is celebrated as the Lung Cancer Awareness Month, public health officials remind Americans that this condition causes the highest number of deaths across the country.
More precisely, roughly 158,000 people die of lung cancer every year. Although smoking accounts for 80 percent of all lung cancer-related deaths, there are other environmental factors as well.
For instance, many people are diagnosed with this condition although they never smoked before. However, it doesn’t mean that smokers get a free pass because they are more likely to develop lung cancer compared to non-smokers.
Scientists have established that five other main factors are influencing the development of this devastating disease. Lung cancer among non-smokers is usually related to high exposure to silica, radon, air pollution, and asbestos.
It is worth mentioning that it can be caused by genetic changes as well. Radon is an odorless and colorless radioactive gas which is easily inhaled by people, who are unaware that it can lead to lung cancer.
This gas is found in various buildings such as schools, offices, and homes. Furthermore, it is also present on the water surface and under it. Radon is produced by decaying uranium and other radioactive elements in rock and soil.
Based on the estimates, it kills around 20,000 people across the United States every year. Smokers are the most vulnerable to radon exposure. Asbestos exposure is the primary cause leading to mesothelioma, a form of cancer that attacks the abdomen or the lungs.
This toxic mineral is found in some building materials, and it accounts for roughly 4,800 deaths every year. According to the WHO officials, outdoor air pollution is an important carcinogen because it includes dust, metals, solvents, and diesel engine exhaust among others.
Outdoor air pollution can cause bladder cancer too. Based on the recent reports, lung cancer caused by air pollution killed around 223,000 people across the world in 2010. Another carcinogen is silica, a mineral occurring in mineral ores, rocks, and sand.
The most widely-known form of silica is quartz. This mineral is used in granite, concrete, bricks, and other building materials. Construction workers have an elevated risk of developing lung cancer because they inhale a significant amount of silica dust.
Last but not least, the development of lung cancer can be influenced by genetics as well, but these inherited DNA mutations are not the only factor triggering the disease.
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