How does the incidence of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) vary between smokers and nonsmokers?

Updated: Jul 15, 2021
  • Author: Winston W Tan, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Nagla Abdel Karim, MD, PhD  more...
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The development of lung cancer is directly related to number of cigarettes smoked, length of smoking history, and the tar and nicotine content of the cigarettes. Risk is highest among current smokers and lowest among nonsmokers. A large trial showed that persistent smokers had a 16-fold elevated lung cancer risk, which was further doubled in those who started smoking when younger than 16 years. [16] The age-adjusted incidence rates range from 4.8-20.8 per 100,000 among nonsmokers to 140-362 per 100,000 among active smokers.

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