Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Most Likely Causes of Lung Cancer of Non-Smokers
Last week, I received a call from my wife's closed relative and phone pal, that she was just diagnosed with lung cancer. The extent of cancer (stage) has not been verified. Pet Scan and Imaging test is scheduled for next week.
Macrine's closed relative is a non-smoker. Her call reminded me that Macrine's mother also died of lung cancer. Macrine's Mom was a non smoker. These two incidents prompted me to do some Internet search on causes of lung cancer not due to smoking. According to the American Cancer Society, 20% of lung cancer deaths are people who have never smoked. The following is a summary of information from www.cancer.org on factors that may cause lung cancer for non-smokers.
1. Radon gas- The leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers is exposure to radon gas, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It accounts for about 21,000 deaths from lung cancer each year. Radon occurs naturally outdoors in harmless amounts, but sometimes becomes concentrated in homes built on soil with natural uranium deposits. Studies have found that the risk of lung cancer is higher in those who have lived for many years in a radon-contaminated house. Because radon gas can’t be seen or smelled, the only way to know whether it’s a problem in your home is to test for it. A Citizen’s Guide to Radon, produced by the EPA, explains how to test your home for radon easily and inexpensively, as well as what to do if your levels are too high.
2. Secondhand smoke- Each year, an estimated 7,000 adults die of lung cancer as a result of breathing secondhand smoke. Laws that ban smoking in public places have helped to reduce this danger. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action NetworkSM (ACS CAN), the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, is working to expand and strengthen these laws to further protect both smokers and non-smokers from the dangers of secondhand smoke.
3.Cancer-causing agents at work- For some people, the workplace is a source of exposure to carcinogens like asbestos and diesel exhaust. Work-related exposure to such cancer-causing materials has decreased in recent years, as the government and industry have taken steps to help protect workers. But the dangers are still present, and if you work around these agents, you should be careful to limit your exposure whenever possible.
4. Air pollution- It’s long been known that both indoor and outdoor air pollution contribute to lung cancer. In 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified outdoor air pollution as a cancer causing agent (carcinogen). According to Elizabeth Ward, PhD, American Cancer Society National Vice President, Intramural Research, the risk of lung cancer associated with air pollution is lower in the US than in many other countries because of policies that have helped to lower the levels of exposure.
5. Gene mutations- Researchers are learning more and more about what causes cells to become cancerous, and how lung cancer cells differ between non-smokers and smokers. For example, an article published in Clinical Cancer Research explains that a particular kind of gene mutation is much more common in lung cancer in non-smokers than smokers. This mutation activates a gene that normally helps cells grow and divide. The mutation causes the gene to be turned on constantly, so the lung cancer cells grow faster. Knowing which gene changes cause the cells to grow has helped researchers develop targeted therapies, drugs that specifically target these mutations.
There are two major types of lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Staging lung cancer is based on whether the cancer is local or has spread from the lungs to the lymph nodes or other organs. Because the lungs are large, tumors can grow in them for a long time before they are found. Even when symptoms—such as coughing and fatigue—do occur, people think they are due to other causes. For this reason, early-stage lung cancer (stages I and II) is difficult to detect.
Small cell lung cancer grow faster compared to the non-small cell type, but is more responsive to therapy. Macrine's relative did not informed me what type of lung cancer she had, However, I hope it is still in the early stages. Friends and Relatives please pray for Macrine's relative!