Lung Cancer Prevention & Screening

Risk Factors

Increased risk for lung cancer comes from a combination of lifestyle, environmental and genetic factors.

Check your risk level online

Some of the major risk factors for lung cancer are:

  • Smoking (including cigarettes, pipes, cigars, marijuana and crack cocaine) accounts for over 85 percent of all lung cancers. Even after quitting smoking, former smokers remain at risk for lung cancer. Risk from smoking is based both on the number of cigarettes smoked per day and the number of years smoked.
  • Second-Hand Smoke: Nonsmokers living with smokers sustain one-quarter of the smoker's increased risk.
  • Radon: A radioactive gas from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks, radon is typically found in some basements with little or no ventilation, as well as in mines. You cannot see, taste or smell radon. Radon is typically found in the Western New York region. Exposure to radon and tobacco smoke can significantly increase the risk for developing lung cancer.
  • Asbestos and Other Substances: A mineral consisting of tiny inhalable fibers, asbestos is used in many industries, including steel plants, shipbuilding, brake repair, insulation, plumbing and construction. People who have certain jobs (such as those who work in the construction and chemical industries) and have exposure to asbestos, arsenic, chromium, nickel, soot, tar, and other substances have a greater risk of lung cancer. The risk increases with the number of years of exposure to these substances.
  • Air Pollution: Air pollution, including diesel fumes, may increase the risk of lung cancer.
  • Existing Lung Disease: Emphysema, chronic bronchitis, tuberculosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Family History: People with a father, mother, brother, or sister who had lung cancer may be at increased risk of the disease, even if they don't smoke. Researchers are studying genetic markers that can be linked to lung cancer.
  • Personal History of Cancer: People who have had lung, esophageal or head and neck cancer are at increased risk.
  • Age: Most people are older than 65 years when diagnosed with lung cancer.

There is also a percentage of people who will develop lung cancer (around 12 percent) who have never smoked or whose lifestyle, behavior and exposures seem to fall outside the list of risk.

The Endoscopy Center

Our Endoscopy Center brings together Advanced Endoscopy and Interventional Pulmonology services into one facility where more than 90 percent of procedures, including lung cancer screenings, are performed on an outpatient basis.