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Cancer Research UK: Lung Cancer is Not Just A Smoker's Disease

The Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK has stated that lung cancer should no longer be seen as just a ‘smoker’s disease’ because research shows that one in five new lung cancer cases have nothing to do with smoking.

The Telegraph reports that Dr Harpal Kumar, the charity’s chief executive, said  “It is not so long ago that we used to say more than nine in ten lung cancers were smoking-related, and now we say eight in ten. People tend to think it is just a smokers’ disease, but it isn’t,” he added. “It is a significant problem, and one that is growing globally.”

Each year around 6000 non-smokers in the UK are diagnosed with lung cancer.

Cancer Research UK - Lung Cancer is Not Just A Smoker's DiseaseCancer Research UK has recently launched a nine year trial, called TRACERx, which aims to identify the genetic mutations suspected to be involved in the spread of the disease. Costing £14m, it is the biggest single investment into the study of lung cancer ever made.

The second leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking, is radon gas. Radon exposure is linked to over 2000 lung cancer deaths in the UK every year and this figure is likely to rise as we build increasingly air-tight buildings with often inadequate (or non-existent) radon protection. Air tight building specifications not only trap more radon inside a building but actively encourage greater amounts of radon into the building from the soil due to the low air pressure that prevails inside such a building.

A simple way to minimise the risk of developing radon-induced lung cancer is to test your home. Radon testing is a simple and inexpensive process, but will flag up whether unacceptable radon levels are present in the air that you are breathing.