Actress and comedian Kate Micucci, revealed last month that she had been diagnosed and treated for lung cancer despite having “never” smoked cigarettes. Micucci’s diagnosis came as a surprise to her followers, especially considering she is a non-smoker. However, lung cancer among non-smokers happens more often than most people realize.
(NEXSTAR) – Last month, actress and comedian Kate Micucci revealed that she had been diagnosed and treated for lung cancer despite “never” having smoked a cigarette in her life.
“It was a surprise, but also, I guess it happens,” the “Big Bang Theory” actress said, shortly before confirming she had undergone treatment and is now “cancer-free.”
News of Micucci’s diagnosis came as a shock to followers, especially considering she’s a non-smoker. But like Micucci said, this kind of thing “happens” more frequently than most of us likely imagine.
A 2020 research paper co-authored by Ahmedin Jemal, the senior vice president of the Surveillance & Health Equity Science Department of the American Cancer Society, found that approximately 12.5% of lung cancer patients in a wide-ranging study supported by CDC data were classified as “never-smokers” — a designation given to patients who were not only non-smokers but hadn’t been regular smokers at any previous time.
“Even among never-smokers, lung cancer, because it is very common … is a top 10 leading cause of cancer deaths,” Jemal told Nexstar.
Lung cancers in never-smokers, he said, could stem from a variety of environmental factors, the biggest being secondhand smoke, radon poisoning, pollution, exposure to asbestos, and exposure to arsenic in drinking water. This also means that the type of cancer-causing mutations that develop in never-smokers can be different than the kinds that develop in smokers.