Lung cancer happens when cells in the lungs divide without control, leading to the development of tumours. Tumour growth can lower a person’s ability to breathe, and it can spread to other areas of the body.
According to experts, reasons for lung cancer in people who don’t smoke are:
1. Passive smoking, or the inhalation of tobacco smoke from other people who smoke that you share living or working quarters with, is an established risk factor for you getting lung cancer. Non-smokers who stay with a smoker have a 24 per cent increase in risk for developing lung cancer when compared with other people who don’t smoke. Each year, about 3,000 lung cancer deaths are estimated to happen in the U.S. that are attributable to passive smoking.
2. Radon gas, a naturally-occurring gas that forms due to the decay of uranium can as well cause lung cancer. An estimated 12 per cent of total lung cancer deaths in both smokers and non-smokers, or 15,000 to 22,000 lung cancer-related deaths yearly in the U.S, are believed to be at least partially linked to radon gas exposure. Those who smoke and are exposed to radon have an even higher risk of developing lung cancer than people who don’t but are exposed to radon gas. Radon gas can move up through the soil and enter homes through gaps in the foundation, pipes, drains, or other openings.
3. Heredity, since all people who smoke do not eventually develop lung cancer, it is likely that other factors, like individual genetic susceptibility, may play a role in triggering lung cancer. Several studies have shown that lung cancer is more likely to happen in both smoking and non-smoking relatives of people who have had lung cancer than in the general population.
4. Air pollution from vehicles, industry, and power plants, can increase the risk of developing lung cancer in exposed people. It has been estimated that up to 2,000 lung cancer deaths each year may be linked to breathing polluted air, and many experts believe that being exposed for a long time to highly polluted air can spike the risk for the development of lung cancer the same as that of passive smoking.