Neuroendocrine Tumor of the Lung: Risk Factors

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 12/2019

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about the factors that increase the chance of developing a lung NET. Use the menu to see other pages.

A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing a tumor. Although risk factors often influence the development of a tumor, most do not directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop a tumor, while others with no known risk factors do. Knowing your risk factors and talking about them with your doctor may help you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices.

What causes lung NETs is unknown, and no avoidable risk factors have been found. These tumors do not appear to be caused by or related to smoking. However, the following factors may raise a person’s risk of developing this type of tumor:

  • Family history of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1. Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) is a hereditary condition that increases the risk of developing a lung NET.

  • Race and gender. Lung NETs are more common in white people than in other racial and ethnic groups. More women than men develop lung NETs, but the reason why is not known.

  • Age. The average age at diagnosis for a typical carcinoid tumor is 45 years. The average age at diagnosis for an atypical carcinoid tumor is 55 years. Children rarely develop NETs.

  • Environment and diet. There are no known connections between the environment and what a person eats and the risk of developing a lung NET.

The next section in this guide is Symptoms and Signs. It explains what body changes or medical problems a lung NET can cause. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.