Doctors troubled by rise in lung cancer in nonsmokers
Doctors troubled by rise in lung cancer in nonsmokers

Lung cancer remains the single biggest cause of cancer death in Canada accounting for a staggering quarter of all cancer deaths

About 85 per cent of those cases can be chalked up to smoking But doctors are noticing a troubling phenomenon that they cant yet fully explain women are dying of lung cancerand more of them have never smoked

Faith Croxon is one of those women the new face of lung cancer An avid golfer who didnt smoked and avoided cigarettes all her life she is now is battling advanced lung cancer

I was astounded completely astounded she says of the day when she got her diagnosis No one smokes in our house or in our car Our friends are not smokers It just blew me away

But its not a complete surprise to cancer specialist Dr Natasha Leighl of Torontos Princess Margaret Hospital

In cancer centres it certainly seems that we are seeing more lung cancer in particularly younger women and in people who have never smoked she says

Lung cancer in what are called neversmokers is now the 10th most common cancer in Canada and its an illness thats seen more often in women

Laurie Thomson is another nonsmoker whos been diagnosed with lung cancer She developed a cough last fall which her doctors thought must be pneumonia When she learned it was cancer she was stunned

There is no history of cancer in my family I have no history of lung cancer and I never smoked so why would it be lung cancer she says

Doctors dont know whats behind the numbers Radon a radioactive gas thats released from rock and can seep into homes through the foundation is thought to be the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers

Casual exposure to secondhand smoke likely also plays a role But they also suspect pollution and perhaps genetics are playing a role all factors that are not as easy to control as telling people to quit smoking

What makes lung cancer in never smokers worrisome is we dont know how to cut down that risk who we should screen or who we should watch to make that diagnosis earlier says Dr Leighl

The good news is that there are new treatments that seem to work well in nonsmokers with lung cancer Both Laurie and Faith are receiving these treatments and doing well

Still they want to warn doctors not to ignore coughs that dont go away in nonsmokers Nor should they dismiss patients who are losing weight suddenly or coughing up blood or who appear to have pneumonia that doesnt respond to antibiotics

All of those could be signs that their patients might have something many think isnt possible

With a report from CTV medical sp

Date : 10 May, 2012
Reference :

Back to News
Featured Hospitals Listing
St. Stephen's Hospital
St. Stephen's Hospital Marg Tis Hazari Delhi Delhi (India)
Phone : 23966021 - 27
Email :
Website URL : Available