Is drinking alcohol a risk factor for lung cancer? That is, does drinking increases the chance of getting the disease? No. Drinking alcohol and lung cancer are not linked or associated.
That’s the conclusion of the National Cancer Institute. American Cancer Society. National Health Service (UK). Cancer Council Australia. American Society of Clinical Oncology. Canadian Cancer Society. Cancer Research UK. American Lung Association. Cancer Society NZ. And the list goes on and on.
A lung cancer risk factor is anything that increases the chance of getting the disease. However, having one or more risk factors doesn’t mean that a person will get lung cancer. And some people get the disease without any of these risk factors.
- Smoking tobacco (by far the leading risk factor).
- Breathing the tobacco smoke of others (secondhand smoke).
- Breathing radon (the leading risk factor among non-smokers).
- Radiation therapy to the lungs.
- Personal or family history of lung cancer.
Also a risk factor is exposure to any of these.
- Diesel exhaust.
- Air pollution.
- Radioactive ores.
- Arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chloromethyl ethers, chromium compounds. Also coal products, mustard gas, nickel compounds, silica, or vinyl chloride.
Unfortunately, symptoms of lung cancer may not appear until the disease is advanced. So it’s important to see a doctor at the first sign of any of these.
- A cough that doesn’t go away.
- Coughing up blood or rust colored material
- A cough that gets worse
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain that is often worse when breathing deeply, coughing, or laughing.
- Hoarse voice.
- Loss of appetite.
- Weight loss.
- Lung-related infections.
- Feeling tired or weak.
Fortunately, there’s free help at Smokefree.