Non Smoker Lung Cancer Cases Need More Research

Armen Hareyan's picture

Nonsmokers also contract lung cancer, despite of healthy lifestyle they conduct. This means that while it is clear how smokers can avoid the disease, more needs to be done to help nonsmokers avoid lung cancer.

A study by researchers from American Cancer Society looked at the data of lifelong nonsmokers living North America, Europe, and Asia. The data comes from 13 large-scale studies conducted during the period between 1960 and 2004. It includes examining more than 630,000 men who have lung cancer cases and 1.8 million men with death cases associated with the lung cancer. The data also includes information on women living in 10 countries and reporting to 22 cancer registries.


The study found that lung cancer among lifelong nonsmokers occurs as frequently as brain and central nervous system cancers do. Nonsmoking men were found to be at 1.1% risk of dying from lung cancers prematurely, while women were at 0.8% risk. The risk was especially high among African American and Asian men. This shows a significant difference between nonsmokers and smokers, who are at 22.1% (for men) and 11.9% (for women) risk of dying earlier.

Comparing lung cancer cases and death cases between smokers and nonsmoker, researchers concluded that from 10% to 15% (from 16000 to 24000 cases annually) of disease cases are caused by other factors, while for the rest of cases tobacco is responsible. For smokers lung cancer is the number one cause leading to premature death, while for nonsmokers it is only from seventh to ninth cancer causing early deaths.

Researchers also found that lung cancer cases remained stable among nonsmokers for a rather long period of time, since 1930. Overall, the number of nonsmokers is increasing, meaning that more needs to be done to help nonsmokers fight the the risk of lung cancer.



My husband's family all smoked! His Mother died at age 71 with small cell lung cancer in January 2004, his Father at age 82, but with other issues he too was a heavy smoker. The youngest of his siblings , a women of 63, is now undergoing treatment for lung cancer, if she lives till Feb.2009 she will turn 64, however, as both her Mother and Father did she still smokes! My husband , the oldest , has gone off and on about smoking and now is back to smoking at least a pack in one to two days a week. He is a well educated person, now retired , but dealing with his sisters illness he is back to killing himself again. Sadly, I have lived with this for over thirty five years, and have never smoked. However, over those years my doctors always asked me if I did! I am the one that will come down with the lung cancer , as my Father was a smoker and my husband. Some twenty years back he was NOT permitted to smoke in our home( his parents did not like that , and it became a big difficulty in our life) I am writing this to say , his Mother had the gene , his sister has the gene, both had lung cancer, his Father died of other causes, his other sister smokes is one year older than the younger one and seems in good health, as my husband does. Is there a possibility they do not carry the lung cancer gene? As for me, my Mother died at age 87, never smoked, my Father was a smoker,died at 52 from drink , of the three children ; I am the middle one and never smoked. Older brother , died 62 was a smoker, poor life style, younger sister as now 60 and is a heavy smoker. Guess we all sound like a study case?