Experts say more research is needed to determine why lung cancer also affects people who have never smoked.


Lung cancer is the fifth most common cancer diagnosed in Australia and the leading cause of death from cancer. However, the causes of lung cancer in non-smokers has not yet been found. The one thing medical researchers know for sure is that smoking remains the most significant independent risk factor for lung cancer. The Daffodil Centre in Sydney is currently overseeing a new study to identify potential risk factors in people who don't smoke. The Centre's researchers are sifting through two large population studies from Australia and China to see if they can link lung cancer in non-smokers to factors such as diet, lifestyle and household air pollution. According to Cancer Council NSW, about 35 per cent of Australian women diagnosed with lung cancer, and 15 per cent of men, were life-long non-smokers—and that number is growing.