Smoking may be the leading cause of lung cancer, but it’s not the only cause. Being aware of other risks can make all the difference to your perception of lung cancer.
While smoking tobacco is responsible for around 90 percent of all lung cancer cases, there is also a growing number of non-smokers who are falling victim to the disease. However, due to the perception that only smokers get lung cancer, there is a genuine risk that these sufferers can put off getting treatment, not believing they could have the disease. If I don’t smoke, how can I get lung cancer? It’s rare, but non-smokers can receive a lung cancer diagnosis as well.
Aside from smoking cigarettes, you may be more at risk if you’re exposed to secondhand smoke, you work with cancer-causing agents such as diesel and asbestos, or you have been in the presence of radon gas. Air pollution and gene mutation have also be found to be causes of lung cancer, as well as exposure to coal gas and the processing of chrome, steel, and nickel. There are many harmful chemicals, gases, and materials that may heighten your risk of getting lung cancer, even if you’ve never touched a cigarette in your life.
As many non-smokers believe they aren’t at risk, it’s all too easy to pass off symptoms as a cold or flu, or a standard illness. However, a worsening cough that won’t go away, coughing up blood or phlegm, shortness of breath, and a loss of appetite and weight are all common symptoms of lung cancer. Some people may also find their voices are hoarse, they’re wheezing, have chest pains, or feel weak and tired. What ’s more, if you make regular visits to your doctor for respiratory infections, it might be time to request further tests.
It is not known why some people are more at risk than others when put in a similar situation, but it’s crucial to understand that your environment can be equally as risky as being a cigarette smoker.
Therefore, if you find yourself working with hazardous materials, it’s critical to protect yourself as much as possible. Follow your workplace’s health and safety plan and see your GP for regular check-ups.