Occupational exposure to asbestos is associated with an increased risk of mesothelioma and lung cancer. This risk is greatly increased if the person smokes.
Other occupational exposures associated with lung cancer include contact with the processing of steel, nickel, chromium and coal gas.
Exposure to radiation causes an increased risk of all cancers including lung cancer. Miners of uranium, fluorspar and haematite may be exposed to radiation by inhaling air contaminated with radon gas.
There is some debate about the role of air pollution in the development of lung cancer. Both lung cancer and smoking rates are higher in urban areas than in rural areas. After allowing for the differences in smoking rates there remains a very small urban risk that may be attributed to atmospheric pollutants.
As with many cancers it is not possible to attribute cause in all cases of lung cancer. It is also unknown why some smokers develop lung cancers while others do not. However, there is strong evidence that after a smoker gives up smoking the risk of developing lung cancer decreases steadily.
Prevention of lung cancer
The most important preventative measure to reduce the risk of lung cancer is to stop smoking.
Help is available from various sources for people who wish to stop smoking. These include:
* Quitline (Phone: 13 18 48)
* Medical Practitioners
Stopping smoking will also have an impact on the reduction of environmental tobacco smoke and in doing so will reduce the risk of lung cancer amongst non-smokers.
Safer industrial conditions that minimise exposure to harmful chemicals can also play a role in the prevention of lung cancer.