5 Hidden Causes of Lung Cancer You Need to Know About

Smoking might be the main culprit behind┬álung cancer, but could non-smokers also be susceptible to the deadly disease? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking is linked to 80% to 90% of lung cancers. That’s a huge number, but still, it begs the question of what accounts for the remaining cases. What are the additional risk factors besides tobacco, and just how high is your risk?

In addition to smoking, here are five causes of lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

1. Exposure to radon

doctor talking to a male patient in an exam room

Radon exposure is dangerous. | iStock.com

Formed naturally when radioactive elements break down, radon is a colorless, odorless gas. Found in soil and rock, radon can exist in the air, underground water, and surface water. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Exposure to radon can result from spending too much time inside a building — home, office building, or school — that has high levels. And because the amount of radon present in a building is based on the surrounding rock and soil, radon exposure varies from state to state, even neighborhood to neighborhood. Additionally, basements, crawl spaces, and well water tend to have more concentrated radon levels, due to their close proximity to the soil and rock.

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