Is lung cancer hereditary?

Lung cancer is not hereditary, meaning the disease is not transmitted with specific genes per se. However, some people may inherit a susceptibility to developing the disease. It is well-known that the risk of a lung cancer patient’s child to develop lung cancer is equal to that of the general population.

What are the causes of lung cancer?

Lung cancer smoking

In most cases, lung cancer is a disease created by man, as it is closely related to the use of tobacco. While in the past years, lung cancer was mainly diagnosed in males, today, due to the increase in smoking among women, it has become the leading cause of death due to cancer in women too, overcoming breast cancer.

Consequently, this had a great social impact, especially due to the fact that women today conceive at a later age with respect to previous generations.

The first step in lung cancer prevention, is to stop smoking.

American study on tobacco use

A recent article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most prestigious medical journals, assessed the prevalence of 12 different types of tobacco use among adults and adolescents (12 to 17 years old).

Results showed that about 25% of adults over the age of 25, and 38% of those aged 18-24 years are habitual users of tobacco. In addition, 15% of adolescents aged 15-17 years and 3% of those aged 12 to 14 years have used tobacco products at least once in the last 30 days prior to the interview. Although cigarettes are the most frequently used product, around 40% of the subjects use at least 2 types of products simultaneously (typically cigarettes and electronic cigarettes).

This data emphasizes the importance of informational and educational campaigns about the risks associated to tobacco consumption from an early age.

Other risk factors for lung cancer

Although smoking is the main cause of lung cancer, pollution and workplace toxins can also contribute to the disease development.

About 20-25% of patients who develop lung cancer are not smokers and have never been smokers, but the reasons for these are still not clear.