As for nonsmokers who get lung cancer — about two-thirds of them women — Dr. Schiller said they “are a disenfranchised group that did nothing wrong, yet women with breast cancer get all the support and empathy.”
“It’s a sizable number of nonsmokers who get lung cancer, more than get leukemia or AIDS,” she went on. “If lung cancer unrelated to smoking was listed as a separate disease, it would be the sixth or seventh most common cause of cancer deaths.”
Smoking-related lung cancer typically strikes older people (the average age at diagnosis is 71), but it often afflicts nonsmokers much earlier, in the 30s and 40s or even younger. And because doctors rarely suspect lung cancer when people who never smoked develop respiratory symptoms, the disease is typically diagnosed too late for any hope of a cure.
To be honest, I have a 4.5 pack year smoking history, but because the last time I smoked was almost 30 years ago (October 25, 1980), I am considered a non-smoker. Not a 'never smoker' but a non smoker. I just thought I should set the record straight as to my own status.