Katie Griffin Is Suffering From Lung Cancer After Having Never Smoked. The Disease Is Explained In This Guide For Non-Smokers.

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : August 4, 2021

The actress stunned fans when she announced that she had been diagnosed with lung cancer and that she would have part of her lung removed. Griffin, 60, shared in a statement on social media that doctors are optimistic as it is in stage one and confined to her left lung. Although she had never smoked, the comedian noted she was diagnosed with the disease despite the fact that she had not consumed any tobacco. 

Without opting to smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products, people are at risk of developing lung carcinoma. Approximately 40,000 lung cancers occur each year among people who never smoked or smoked fewer than 100 cigarettes throughout their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Katie Griffin Is Suffering From Lung Cancer After Having Never Smoked. The Disease Is Explained In This Guide For Non-Smokers.

Here are some tips for nonsmokers who want to learn more about lung cancer and its risks: 

I have never smoked. Do I have a chance of getting lung cancer?

Smoking or consuming tobacco products increases your chances of getting the disease. CDC statistics show that smoker’s lung cancer risk is 15-30 times higher than that of nonsmokers.

According to Dr. David Carbone, a researcher with the James Thoracic Oncology Center at Ohio State University, said people without smoking tobacco can still develop lung cancer. There is a belief among lung cancer circles that people with lungs are more likely to develop the disease. 

Katie Griffin Is Suffering From Lung Cancer After Having Never Smoked. The Disease Is Explained In This Guide For Non-Smokers.

In her role as the senior vice president of surveillance and health equity science at the American Cancer Society, Ahmedin Jemal has said that secondhand smoke is one of the major causes of lung cancer among nonsmokers. In addition, exposure to radon, a naturally occurring gas trapped in homes and buildings, and asbestos can also contribute to the death of nonsmokers from lung cancer.

An individual without a smoking habit may also develop lung cancer if their family has a history of the disease.

Do non-smokers have a low risk of lung cancer? 

It is estimated that 10% to 20% of lung cancers each year occur in people who have never smoked or don’t smoke more than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime, according to the center for disease control. Around 7,300 lung cancer diagnoses are caused by secondhand smoke exposure every year, while about 2,900 diagnoses are caused by radon.

The American Lung Association spokesperson, Dr. Jacob Sands, said that “any kind of toxicity can cause this, any kind of toxicity that affects the DNA.” We generally think of smoking as harmful because it has a lot of toxicity right on the surface. However, there can also be alterations that happen on their own, he said.

Lung cancer treatment options: What are they? 

A lung cancer patient has a variety of treatment options. Like Griffin, some patients may have a section of the lung removed, a lobe removed, or even the entire organ. In addition to radiation therapy, chemotherapy may also be used by those with lung cancer. However, multiple doctors said that targeted therapy can also provide promising results for nonsmokers with lung cancer. In these cases, medicines are used to target specific mutations in cancer cells.

Chemotherapy and radiation are no longer the only treatments available, Carbone noted.

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Is it common to remove the lungs? 

Multiple doctors said that lung sections are often removed in patients with early lung cancer, such as Griffin.

Carbone said that patients can choose to wedge out the tumor, but studies found that the relapse rate was significantly higher than if you removed the entire lobe. He also added that doctors may also remove lymph nodes to determine the extent of cancer spread.

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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