Cancer Treatment Centers of America

How does lung cancer start?

Answered by: Daniel Nader, DO, FCCP, FACP
Chief, Division of Pulmonary Services, Department of Medicine at Cancer Treatment Centers of America®; Chief of Staff, Lung Program Director, Director of Graduate Medical Education

Lung cancer may first develop because of a genetic predisposition, Dr. Nader explains. Some abnormal gene mutations may increase a patient’s vulnerability to cancer-causing stimuli, such as cigarette smoke, radon gas or other carcinogens. 

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Daniel A. Nader: Well, we think that the lung cancer usually starts by a stimulus or some genetic predisposition. There may be some abnormal genes that make a patient more susceptible to lung cancer due to a stimulus such as cigarette smoke or secondhand smoke or other carcinogens like radon gas.