Video: Lung cancer increases in never smokers

Video transcript

Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide. In Australia it is the leading cause of cancer-related death.

Lung cancer is often linked to smoking cigarettes. However, more and more non-smokers are being diagnosed with the disease. And female non-smokers are more susceptible than males.

There is no consensus as to why lung cancer is becoming more prevalent amongst non-smokers.

Studies have found the following could be contributing factors:

  • Environmental tobacco smoke (second hand smoke)
  • Cooking oil vapours and indoor coal burning
  • Genetic factors
  • Hormonal factors – oestrogen maybe implicated in lung cancer progression
  • Viral factors – The human papilloma virus (HPV) is a proven cause of cervical cancer and may have a role in the development of lung cancer.

Lung cancer often shows no symptoms until it has spread.

So if you suffer from:

  • A persistent cough
  • Breathlessness
  • Chest pain
  • Repeated bouts of pneumonia/ bronchitis
  • Coughing/ spitting up blood.

Talk to your GP today.

Lung cancer as a cause may be overlooked particularly in non-smokers.


J, Subramanian., & R, Govindan. (2007). Lung cancer in never smokers: A review. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 25/5, 561-570. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2006.06.8015

Gazdar, A. F., & Zhou, C. (2018). Lung cancer in never-smokers: a different disease. IASLC Thoracic Oncology, 23-29. DOI: 10.1038/nrc2190

Cancer Council Australia. Lung cancer symptoms.