For years, we’ve been hearing about the link between smoking and lung cancer. But the sad truth is that lung cancer in non-smokers is much more common than people realize. In fact, lung cancer in those who have never smoked is now the sixth most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S.
According to the American Cancer Society, as many as 20% of people who die from lung cancer annually in the U.S. have never smoked or used any other form of tobacco. That translated into more than 30,000 Americans in 2018.
Shockingly, nearly two-thirds of those non-smokers who get lung cancer are women. This percentage is significantly higher among Asian women.
Staying away from tobacco is still the best thing any of us can do to avoid lung cancer. There are a number of other factors, however, which can contribute to our chances for getting lung cancer. The most common causes of non-tobacco related lung cancer include the following.
- Radon gas exposure in the home is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, accounting for about 21,000 deaths each year;
- Secondhand smoke is responsible for nearly 7,000 lung cancer deaths annually in the U.S.;
- Asbestos exposure on the job is a leading cause of mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung lining;
- Aerosol oils caused by fumes from wok cooking are another cause of lung cancer, particularly among Asian women;
- A family history of lung cancer makes it more likely that individuals will develop lung cancer themselves.
What to Do to Lower Your Risk
While non-smokers have already eliminated the greatest risk factor for getting lung cancer, they can still make some lifestyle changes that will help to reduce their risk even more. Testing your home for radon, avoiding secondhand smoke, and limiting your exposure at work to asbestos, aerosols, or other cancer-related items at work can help you to avoid the leading causes of lung cancer in non-smokers.
A healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables may also lessen your risk in getting lung cancer. Some evidence suggests that a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables protects against lung cancer in both smokers and non-smokers.
Research is currently being conducted to determine ways to detect lung cancer among non-smokers at an earlier stage. As a result, doctors may be able to test for tumor markers – substances in the blood associated with cancer – to find these cancers at the earliest, most treatable stage.
If you are a non-smoker but have a family history of lung cancer or think you may have been exposed to one of the common causes of non-tobacco related lung cancer, see your doctor immediately. Early detection can save your life. You can also contact our experienced lung cancer lawyers for a free case review. All consultations are confidential, and you never pay anything unless we secure a settlement or verdict on your behalf. Call us today at 800-794-0444 or visit us online.
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