The number of non-smokers being diagnosed with lung cancer is growing, with many having reached a stage where it’s incurable, according to research published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.
This rise is thought to result from the effects of car fumes, second-hand smoke and indoor air pollution, particularly the soot generated by wood- and coal-burning stoves in homes.
Experts estimate that approximately 6,000 non-smokers in the UK die of lung cancer each year, which is more than the deaths from ovarian and cervical cancers and leukaemia.
“People will find these numbers very surprising. They rarely think of lung cancer as a non-smoker’s disease. They’re so focused on smoking as the main risk factor that we forget that there are quite a few causes of lung cancer that affect non-smokers,” commented professor Paul Cosford, Public Health England’s director for health protection and one of the study’s authors. “There’s an emerging realisation that this is a health problem we need to get supportive about.”