The 43-year-old actress who has never smoked a cigarette in her life announced on TikTok that she entered the hospital for lung cancer surgery.
“I’m, in the hospital but it’s because I had lung cancer surgery yesterday”. They caught it early. It’s pretty weird because I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life, so you know it was a surprise”
“But also, I guess it happens”
“The greatest news is they caught It early they got it out”
“I’m all good”
“But it’s been a little bit of a trip and um I’ll probably be moving slowly for a few weeks ”
In November 2021, the National Institute of Cancer reported that every year 2 million people were diagnosed with lung cancer, but of these patients, only 10% - 20% have never smoked. The main causes of non-smoking-related lung cancer, include factors such as exposure to radioactive gases such as Radon and chemicals like arsenic and other genetic factors which predispose an individual to an increased risk of developing lung cancer.
An epidemiological study published by Sarah Dubin and Daniel Griffin in 2021 shows that worldwide 15%-20% of men with lung cancer are non-smokers however 50% of women with lung cancer are non-smokers.
A research group at UCL says non-smokers are delayed in being diagnosed facing delays – due to failures to arrange follow-up appointments, due to a lack of dramatic or disruptive symptoms which can be mistaken for the common cold, therefore “never-smokers do not perceive themselves to be at risk”. From a different perspective, the study also pointed out GP surgeries show variation in chest x-ray referrals – and might be reticent to put the burden on the NHS.
Regular screening for those who smoke regularly is important, however, being aware of the symptoms in never-smokers makes a difference if it is diagnosed early. Yale Medicine also points out that there are differences between groups of smoke-related cancer and non-smoke-related lung cancer which we should be aware of.
The symptoms in Non-smokers include :
- A cough that doesn’t go away or gets worse over time
- Coughing up blood
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Trouble breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss for no reason
- Trouble swallowing
- Swelling in the face and/or the neck
- Recurrent lung infections, including pneumonia
Closing the gender gap in lung cancer is possible with the development of preventative and diagnostic methods that are improving all the time, this includes genetic testing for smokers and non-smoking lung cancer patients for treatment with specialized therapies specifically designed to target cancerous cells without harming healthy ones.
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