Lung Cancer for Non-Smokers

Article written by Kim DeCoste

One important topic that we have come across here at Catch it in Time, especially due to the work we are doing with Team Draft and the NFL again this year, is the importance of awareness around the topic of non-smoking lung cancer. It is somewhat similar to the issue of male breast cancer in that it is not widely discussed and there is a weird silence on the matter. People don’t think of men getting breast cancer nor do they think of non-smokers getting lung cancer, but they do.

We will be writing more and sharing videos later in the season of the work we are doing with Team Draft, but in general, we wanted to share some general information to our followers and a few little-known facts that could help you #raiseawareness and #findhope, because #cancersucks, to say the least!

A few facts that we came across and verified about non-smoking lung cancer worth knowing are below. Of course, avoiding tobacco product use is still the best way to bring down your own risk, but still 20% of the people who develop lung cancer never smoked.

What are some of the other causes of lung cancer for non-smokers?

According to many experts, the number one cause is radon exposure. Radon is an odorless and invisible gas that is found in many older homes. You would not even know if you had it without using a test kit. You should test for it, however, just to be sure.  The EPA offers resources and information on that or just go talk to someone at the local hardware store for information on alarms and ways to test for it. Approximately 21,000 avoidable deaths come from this silent killer ever year.

Second hand smoke is the next one on the list. If you live and work around someone who smokes, you are inhaling those carcinogens every time you breath. Limiting your exposure is the best thing you can do, along with encouraging the person to quit. Also remember small children should not be around second hand smoke either. It is estimated that approximately 7,330 people died from second hand smoke last year.

The environment at work matters. If you work around a lot of asbestos or diesel exhaust, you are increasing your risk.

For some, the air they breathe all around them all the time is the culprit. The World Health Organization has finally acknowledged that air pollution is causing cancer globally. We must all work together on this issue. The air is shared and just because it looks clean, does not mean it is. When it looks dirty, it is. This is a global concern and a valid one. We also noted in a couple of places it was mentioned that Asian women have a higher incidence of non-smoking lung cancer and it was attributed to the aerosolized oils associated with certain kinds of cooking.

Lastly, there are some genetic factors that come into play. There is not much you can do about a genetic mutation, but certainly if you are aware of a family history, you should be extra-vigilant about checking in with your doctor regularly and watching for early indications.

Ultimately, we cannot control every risk factor and every exposure for something like this. We all have to breath, for goodness sakes, but we can try to increase the odds that we live long and healthy lives by reducing our risk through bad habits. There is also increasing evidence of the connection between healthy eating and cancer avoidance. In this case, healthy eating refers to increasing the fruits and vegetables in our diets and moving away from foods with a lot of additives and additional chemical components.

(For references on this, we used several pages on the site www.cancer.org  as well as on www.verywell.com .  You should consult with your own doctor if you have any concerns about non-smoking lung cancer.)