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Smoking And Lung Cancer

Smoking And Lung Cancer

Jay M. Lee (Surgical Director, Thoracic Oncology Program, UCLA) gives expert video advice on: Does the age I started smoking affect the odds I will develop lung cancer?; Does the amount I smoke affect your odds of developing lung cancer?; Why do people who never smoke develop lung cancer? and more...

What percentage of smokers develop lung cancer?

About 10% to 15% of individuals who smoke will actually develop lung cancer. And although the other 85% don't develop lung cancer, it's important to understand that smoking causes other cancers and these would include cancers in the oral cavity, or in the opening in the airway itself called the larynx, pharyngeal cancers and oesophageal cancers. Not only that, smoking also impacts on heart disease, stroke and chronic lung disease. So yes, only 10% to 15% of individuals actually develop lung cancer, but there are multiple other co morbidities and health related problems that smoking will cause.

What are the odds a former smoker will get lung cancer?

The risk of lung cancer declines with smoking cessation. Even with less than ten years of smoking cessation, that risk is reduced by a third. However, that risk of developing lung cancer persists even as far out as thirty years of smoking cessation. This data is a little controversial, and other reports suggest that there is great impact with smoking cessation at shorter durations, but other studies such as this one that I quoted still show a persistent risk for lung cancer long-term.

Does the age I started smoking affect the odds I will develop lung cancer?

Age does impact on the risk for lung cancer, mainly because it impacts on duration. The longer that you smoked and the amount of cigarettes that you smoked certainly impacts on lung cancer development.

Does the amount I smoke affect your odds of developing lung cancer?

The amount of cigarette smoking definitely impacts on lung cancer risk. We often refer to it as pack years of smoking cigarettes. So yes, the amount of cigarette smoking definitely impacts lung cancer risk.

Does the type of cigarettes I smoke affect the odds I will develop lung cancer?

The type of cigarettes can also impact the risk for lung cancer development. It is believed that unfiltered cigarettes, as well as cigarettes with high nicotine and tar content will increase your risk for lung cancer.

Is a former smoker always vulnerable to lung cancer?

Lung cancer risk is certainly reduced by smoking cessation. This is an area that is extensively studied, and with how much reduction in lung cancer risk is attributed to smoking cessation there is a little variable. But certain reports have noted that even with as far out as 30 years of smoking cessation, patients still have an increased risk of lung cancer. This has been quoted at somewhere around 10%.

Why do people who never smoke develop lung cancer?

Non smokers develop lung cancer because there are other causes for lung cancer. The number two cause for lung cancer is radon exposure and radon is a radioactive gas that's found in the soil and in the rocks. It's a gas that is tasteless or odourless and it often percolates into homes and buildings from the soil itself. There are other causes for lung cancer, including chronic lung diseases such as tuberculosis which has been associated with lung cancer development. And finally, work-related exposure to carcinogens, such as asbestos exposure, can increase lung cancer.

Do cigars or pipes cause lung cancer?

Cigar and pipe smokers are at an increased risk of developing lung cancer, so it is not just cigarette smoking. Furthermore, even patients that don't inhale the cigars have been shown to have an increased risk of developing lung cancer, as well as oral pharyngeal cancers. It's not just cigarette smoking.

What is the latest medical approach to helping people quit smoking?

Nicotine replacement therapy is the predominant form of helping with smoking cessation, and there's several forms of nicotine replacement therapy out there including gums, or patches and nasal sprays. All of these things, complemented with health care providers encouraging smoking cessation, have been shown to be promising.

Can I get lung cancer from second hand smoke?

The American Lung Association and the National Cancer Institute often quote numbers that about 3,000 deaths from lung cancer are attributed to second hand smoke.