Lung Cancer in Non-Smokers: A Silent Threat

November 3, 2023

Lung Cancer Awareness Month is observed in November, making it a major month for raising awareness of one of the most common and fatal types of cancer. Even though lung cancer remains a serious threat, growing knowledge, encouraging early detection, and ongoing research give those who are affected hope for prevention, improved treatments, and a better future.

Contrary to popular belief, lung cancer can affect people who have never smoked a single cigarette in their lives. This is a prevalent misconception regarding lung cancer because it is frequently thought to solely be related to tobacco use. It is estimated that about 10-15% of lung cancer patients worldwide are non-smokers. Although it is less common, it is still essential to raise awareness of its prominence since it poses a silent threat to our lives. In this blog, we will be going over the common risk factors for non-smokers so that we will have a better understanding of what contributes to an individual’s susceptibility to acquiring this disease and hence prevent it.

  1. Radon gas

The main risk factor for lung cancer in non-smokers is radon gas exposure. This is an odorless, invisible, radioactive gas that is naturally released from rocks, soil, and water. Although radon gas naturally occurs in the open air, high concentrations of the gas linked to uranium deposits can be dangerous. Typically, radon levels are found to be higher in basements, cellars, and other living spaces in contact with the ground since the gas gets in through small openings and builds up in the air.

  1. Secondhand smoke

Non-smokers may also experience detrimental effects from the secondhand smoke they consume due to others smoking in their vicinity. Individuals who share a residence or vehicle with smokers are significantly more in danger of lung cancer as a result.

  1. Occupational hazard

Lung cancer may develop due to working in certain environments, especially if workers are exposed to specific toxins like asbestos. Those in construction, mining, and manufacturing are at higher risk of this. 

  1. Genetic factors

While relatively rare, lung cancer can also be inherited as a result of several genetic factors. Particularly, individuals have an elevated risk of lung cancer in the presence of an EGFR or KRAS gene mutation. However, not everyone who carries these mutations is affected by the illness. 

The prevalence of lung cancer in nonsmokers serves as a sharp reminder that anyone, regardless of smoking history, is susceptible to this disease. Thus, it is essential for us to always be prepared and protected. With PrimeHealth Cash Plan, critical, life, and accident insurance can be acquired at a reasonable rate. For more information, visit