Squamous cell carcinoma of the lung risk factors

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Shanshan Cen, M.D. [2] Maria Fernanda Villarreal, M.D. [3]

Overview

Common risk factors in the development of squamous cell carcinoma of the lung are smoking, family history of lung cancer, high levels of air pollution, radiation therapy to the chest, radon gas, asbestos, occupational exposure to chemical carcinogens, and previous lung disease.

Common Risk Factors

Smoking

  • Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of squamous cell carcinoma of the lung.
  • Both active and passive smoking are associated with increased risk of lung cancer.
  • The risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the lung is associated with increased quantity of cigarette smoking as well as increased duration of smoking.
  • There is a direct correlation between the amount of smoked cigarettes per day and the risk of lung cancer.
  • The e-cigarrettes have also been associated with a significantly increased risk of lung cancer due to the presence of formaldehyde.[8]
  • In the United States, smoking is estimated to account for approximately 87% of squamous cell carcinoma of the lung cases.(90% in men and 85% in women)[9]

Second-hand smoke

  • People exposed to second-hand smoke have an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the lung.
  • Second-hand smoke is a main risk factor for squamous cell carcinoma of the lung among non-smokers.[10]

Air Pollution

  • The long term exposure to air pollution can also cause squamous cell carcinoma of the lung.[11][12]
  • Emissions from automobiles, factories, and power plants are thought to pose potential risks for the development of squamous cell carcinoma of the lung.[13]
  • Individual components of outdoor air pollution, namely diesel engine exhaust, benzene, particulate matter and some polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), are associated with development of squamous cell carcinoma of the lung.[14]

Family History of Lung Cancer

  • Family history of lung cancer may increase the risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the lung.[15][16]
  • First-degree relatives of individuals who have had lung cancer may have a slightly higher risk of developing lung cancer themselves.
  • The increased risk among first-degree relatives could be due to a number of factors, such as shared behaviors or living in the same place where there are carcinogens.
  • Studies of families with a strong history of lung cancer have found that the increased risk iis likely caused by a mutation in specific lung cancer genes.
  • The risk of lung cancer in a family increases if one family member developed the disease at an early age.

Radiation Therapy to the Chest

Radon Exposure

  • Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause of squamous cell carcinoma of the lung in smokers.[18]
  • Radon is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil. In the outdoors, radon gas is diluted by fresh air, so it is not usually a concern. But radon can seep into a home or building through dirt floors or cracks in basement foundations. It may reach unsafe concentrations in enclosed, poorly ventilated homes or buildings because of seepage into the basement. Breathing in radon gas can damage cells that line the lungs.
  • Radon exposure increases the risk of lung cancer.
  • The risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma of the lung depends on the duration and quantity of radon a person has been exposed to.

Asbestos Exposure

  • Asbestos is a group of minerals that occur naturally. Asbestos has been widely used in building materials and many industries.
  • Exposure to asbestos fibers in the air increases the risk of lung cancer.[19]
  • The risk of asbestos exposure is highest for individuals who work with asbestos, such as miners.
  • The combination of smoking and asbestos exposure is especially hazardous.

Exposure to Other Chemical Carcinogens

References

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    * National Research Council (1986). Environmental tobacco smoke: measuring exposures and assessing health effects. National Academy Press. ISBN 0-309-07456-8. 
    * EPA (1992). "Respiratory health effects of passive smoking: lung cancer and other disorders". EPA. Retrieved on 2007-08-10.
    * California Environmental Protection Agency (1997). "Health effects of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke". Tobacco Control. 6 (4): 346–353. PMID 9583639. Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
    * CDC (Dec 2001). "State-specific prevalence of current cigarette smoking among adults, and policies and attitudes about secondhand smoke—United States, 2000". Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. CDC. 50 (49): 1101–1106. PMID 11794619. Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
    * Alberg, AJ (Jan 2003). "Epidemiology of lung cancer". Chest. American College of Chest Physicians. 123 (S1): 21S–49S. PMID 12527563. Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
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  3. "Report of the Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health". Department of Health. Mar 1998. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
    * Hackshaw, AK (Jun 1998). "Lung cancer and passive smoking". Statistical Methods in Medical Research. 7 (2): 119–136. PMID 9654638. 
  4. National Health and Medical Research Council (Apr 1994). "The health effects and regulation of passive smoking". Australian Government Publishing Service. Retrieved on 2007-08-10.
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  13. Parent, ME (Jan 2007). "Exposure to diesel and gasoline engine emissions and the risk of lung cancer". American Journal of Epidemiology. 165 (1): 53–62. PMID 17062632. 
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