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Smoking Aside, Here’s What Causes Lung Cancer


No smoking gun

The deadliest cancer in both Canada and the United States is lung cancer: Its estimated to be responsible for about 21,000 deaths in Canada in 2019, and it’s responsible for about 140,000 deaths in the US each year. (Check out the Canadian provinces with the highest rate of cancer.) Even though smoking increases the risk of the disease more than anything else, 10 to 20 percent of lung cancer cases occur in people who have never smoked. We think that [rate] is increasing as fewer people smoke, says Heather Wakelee, MD, a professor of medicine at Stanford University Medical Center.In some cases, things in the environment, especially radon and secondhand smoke, can be linked to lung cancer in people who arent smokers. [But] the fact is, for the majority of [people who never smoked] we dont know why they get it, Dr. Wakelee says.

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