Non-smokers also get lung cancer

| September 15, 2016

A story in yesterday’s Straits Times asked the question: why do people who don’t smoke get lung cancer?

Doctors and researchers had made headway in the fight against lung cancer, the Singapore-based newspaper noted, and they were trying to unravel more of its mysteries, particularly why it affected a high proportion of people who had never smoked.

As the proportion of smokers in Singapore had fallen, so had the overall incidence of lung cancer, but more East Asian women, who had never smoked, were getting the disease.

This was certainly the case for Chinese women in Singapore, said Dr. T. Agasthian of the Agasthian Thoracic Surgery at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre.

About 70 percent of these never-smokers who have lung cancer are women.

All told, never-smokers make up three in 10 lung cancer patients in Singapore, according to a study by the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), and the incidence is rising.

It has been suggested that some of these sufferers have fallen victim to exposure to second hand smoke or other environmental pollutants created by burning coal and biomass, particularly in poorly ventilated areas, for cooking and heating.

But many sufferers do not have a history of long-term exposure to environmental carcinogens.

Category: Breaking News

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