In 2009, 219,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with lung cancer

Only smokers get lung cancer

Lung Cancer kills more people than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in non smokers

Lung cancer is an “old man’s disease.

The five year survival rate is approximately 15%

I stopped smoking 30 years ago, so my risk for lung cancer is the same as someone who never smoked.

Lung cancer research is significantly underfunded.

Lung cancer is not treatable

Every hour approximately 19 people will die from lung cancer.

Risk Factors

  • In women, 80% of lung cancers are caused by carcinogens in nicotine; in men, that figure is almost 90%. Individuals are exposed to nicotine in cigarettes either directly or indirectly through second-hand smoke.
  • Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer among non smokers, according to the Surgeon General of the United States.
    • Radon is an invisible and odorless gas that occurs naturally from the breakdown of uranium.  It can be found in soil, rock and air.  When breathed outdoors, this gas poses a minimum health risk, however, when it becomes trapped in buildings, concentrations build up which can become cause for concern.  If the radioactive decay products of radon get trapped in your lungs, they can damage the cell lining.  Years of this damage can lead to lung cancer.
    • The methods used to construct a home and what construction materials were used can affect radon levels.  Local geography is another contributing factor.  A color coded map of New Jersey indicating radon concentrations can be found on the NJ Department of Environmental Protection website,  The only way to really know the radon levels in your home is to have it tested.
    • Radon can enter your home (or any other building) through openings around water pipes, sump pipes and drains.  It can enter through cracks and holes in the walls and the foundation.  The water supply is another possible way for radon to enter a building.    Testing is recommended in all single family residences; in multi-dwellings, testing is recommended for residences below the second floor.  Because levels may vary from season to season, a long-term radon kit is recommended.
    • Comprehensive information on radon testing and mitigation can be found on the DEP website as well as the US Environmental Protection Agency website,
  • Exposure to chemicals including arsenic, chromium, nickel and nickel compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and vinyl chlorine
  • Environmental factors over time may have a cumulative impact
  • Age may increase an individual’s risk
  • Genetics – family history may indicate a predisposition to lung cancer
  • Factors as yet unknown

Significantly, although stopping smoking decreases the risk of lung cancer, over 50% of all lung cancer occurs in former smokers who stopped for as long as three decades prior to diagnosis. A former smoker’s risk of lung cancer continues to decrease gradually however it never totally disappears. Recent studies indicate that 20% of women and 8-10% of men diagnosed with lung cancer have no smoking history.