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Not All Lung Cancer Patients Were Smokers


Is it true that lung cancer patients receive less compassion and support than those who have been diagnosed with other forms of cancer? Though it may be hard to believe, unfortunately the answer is yes.

According to a press release from Lung Cancer Canada, 1 in 5 Canadians do not feel as much sympathy for those with lung cancer as they do for people with other forms of cancer. The survey, released in November 2017, indicated that a large percent of the population does not believe these patients deserve empathy. The problem, stemming from a grave misunderstanding about this deadly form of cancer, is not just a Canadian one. In the U.S., close to 27 percent of people felt this way.

“Lung cancer impacts 1 in 5 people who have never used tobacco.”

But did you know that nearly 20 percent of lung cancer patients have never smoked or used tobacco? As the American Cancer Society explained, last year alone 30,000 individuals who had never touched tobacco or cigarettes lost their lives to lung cancer. While many believe that lung cancer is caused solely by smoking, there are in fact a number of external risk factors that have nothing at all to do with tobacco.

Non-Tobacco Related Causes of Lung Cancer
According to the ACS, radon gas is the No. 1 cause of this type of cancer among non-smokers. When it comes to the general population, radon is the second leading cause of all lung cancer deaths, explained the the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Each year, radon is to blame for about 21,000 deaths.

Found in the air we breathe, radon is emitted from rock, water and soil as it naturally breaks down. It has the potential to get inside any building but is most often found within our own homes. Unfortunately, radon cannot be seen, tasted or smelled. As such, the EPA advises testing your home as well as local schools for this deadly gas. The good news is that if radon gas is found within the home, there are effective reduction systems. And today, radon-resistant features in the construction of new homes are becoming more and more common.

Pollution is one of the risk factors for lung cancer in non-smokers.Pollution is one of the risk factors for lung cancer in non-smokers.

Air pollution is another risk factor for lung cancer, according to Medicine Net. Breathing in polluted air from power plants, cars and factories can increase the risk of developing lung cancer later in life. This cause of lung cancer is responsible for an average of 2,000 lung cancer deaths each year. The source also explained that heredity likely plays a role in one’s chances of having cancer of the lungs.

Secondhand smoke, the risk that every elementary school student learns of from a young age, is another leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Years ago, secondhand smoke was much more prevalent and though today’s laws that ban smoking in public places have helped, there are still 7,000 lung cancer deaths each year as a direct result, noted the ACS.

What is Adenocarcinoma?
As the ACS explained, there are three main kinds of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), small cell lung cancer and lung carcinoid tumor. The first and most common form of the disease impacts about 85 percent of lung cancer patients. The most common form of lung cancer found in non-smokers is adenocarcinoma, a subtype of NSCLC. This type of cancer impacts more females than males. It is also the most likely form of lung cancer to impact young adults.

As such, gaining an understanding of adenocarcinoma can be beneficial for non-smoking lung cancer patients. Most often, this form of the disease is found on the outer part of the lungs, rather than inside and is slower to spread. Symptoms include a long-lasting cough, tightness or shortness of breath and coughing up phlegm. For young and otherwise healthy individuals, it can be easy to write these symptoms off as the normal cold or flu. However, if infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia continue to reoccur, it may be a symptom of lung cancer.

When Symptoms Go Under the Radar
Unfortunately, when lung cancer occurs in non-smokers it is not always found or identified right away. One of the primary reasons for this is that people who are young, healthy and active do not fall into the high-risk criteria for screening. According to the American Lung Association, there are three main factors that put an individual in the high risk category:

  • A current smoker, or someone who has quit within the last 15 years.
  • An individual with a 30 pack-year history (this could mean 1 pack per day for 30 years or 2 packs per day for 15 years).
  • An individual between the ages of 55 and 80.

This lack of need for screening, in addition to missed symptoms mentioned above, are what often lead to late diagnosis in young, non-smoker lung cancer patients. As lung cancer specialist Dr. Geoff Oxnard at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston told The Atlantic, many of the lung cancer patients diagnosed young are already at stage IV by the time it is detected. He acknowledged that the overlooked symptoms are often to blame for a disease that is already heavily progressed by the time it is diagnosed.

Moreover, Oxnard expressed his confusion and the questions that still remain surrounding lung cancer in non-smokers. Today, many researchers and doctors are studying how lung cancer in smokers may be an altogether different kind than that found in non-smokers.

While smoking is the No. 1 cause of lung cancer, there are other external causes as well.While smoking is the No. 1 cause of lung cancer, there are other external causes as well.

Lung Cancer Prevention
The first and most obvious form of prevention against lung cancer is to stay away from smoking cigarettes and all tobacco products. However, while doctors continue to search for the cause of lung cancer among non-smoking lung cancer patients, practicing healthy prevention methods can be beneficial for everyone and anyone. The No. 1 prevention method when it comes to fighting disease is a primarily raw, plant-based diet. Preparing your body and your immune system, for any fight it may encounter, with the plants and vegetables of the earth is the most effective ways to prevent cancer.

And for those who have already been diagnosed with lung cancer and are considering the options, know that it is possible to slow tumor growth and heal your body through a primarily raw, plant-based diet. As so many of the Hallelujah Diet testimonies reveal, fueling the body with the proper vitamins and minerals it needs to fight back against cancer can enable the body’s natural self-healing abilities in a truly miraculous way. The full Hallelujah Diet Cancer Support System provides all of the necessary tools, educational materials and encouragement you’ll need to fight back against one of the ugliest forms of cancer.


  1. Carolyn B, Calhoun January 25, 2018

    It is amazing to me that the Diet will help with people who are fighting lung cancer. Thanks for this very informative blog.

  2. It is sad that most people just automatically assume that a person is or has been a smoker at some time during their lives when there is a lung cancer diagnosis. There are so many possible environmental causes of lung cancer.

    I pray that more people learn of the possibility of preventing or even reversing cancer by giving our bodies the critical nutrition necessary to rebuild healthy cells.

  3. My mother died of lung cancer and she never smoked. She was not exposed to 2nd hand smoke. So it is a real mystery as to how she got cancer. This article states that radon is the number cause of lung cancer among non smokers. Radon cannot be seen, tasted or smelled.
    Air pollution is another risk factor for lung cancer. Breathing in polluted air from power plants, cars and factories can increase the risk of developing lung cancer later in life.
    My mother only lived 5 months after she was diagnosed. She was 58 years old when she died.

  4. I think it’s terrible people assume someone with lung cancer brought it on them self and don’t have sympathy for them. Thank you for the article to help open people’s eyes that lung cancer is not always caused by smoking.

  5. CAROLYN B CALHOUN December 21, 2019

    I wanted to add a little to my comment from above. My Mom had lung problems in her late 60’s. After all the testing and exams were done…it was found the living in close proximity to a cement factory played a large part to her situation. Although my parents moved from there..the concert dust had already done its damage. It isn’t always smoking.

  6. My father in law never smoked, and died from lung cancer. Had his share of second hand smoke however. He lived a few weeks after his diagosis.

  7. Thanks for this great article, not everyone is aware of how not only does smoking affect your lungs but other things in the environment can affect you as well.

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