Lung cancer develops when abnormal cells start growing in the lungs. While everyone thinks that smoking is associated with lung cancer, there is evidence that individuals who have never smoked can also develop this serious condition, says one of the best lung cancer doctor in Kolkata

In this blog, we will know about the causes and symptoms of lung cancer in non-smokers, shedding light on the factors that contribute to its development beyond tobacco smoke.

Causes of lung cancer in non-smokers

Lung cancer in individuals who never smoked can develop due to a number of factors. A reputed medical oncologist in Kolkata highlighted some of the common causes which are as follows: 

  1. Environmental factors: Individuals who get exposed to environmental pollutants such as radon gas, asbestos, and other occupational hazards have a higher chance of developing lung cancer even if they don’t smoke. 
  1. Passive Smoking: Non-smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke, either at home or in public places, face an increased risk of developing lung cancer. The carcinogens present in tobacco smoke can have detrimental effects on the lungs of non-smokers as well.
  1. Genetic factors: Certain genetic conditions and familial predisposition is also risk factor of lung cancer in non-smokers. For instance, mutations in the epidermal growth factor (EGFR) are more common in non-smokers and can lead to lung cancer. 
  1. Air pollution: Long-term exposure to high levels of air pollution is known to be associated with lung cancer in people who never smoked. Moreover, particulate matter and other pollutants can also damage your lungs. 
  1. Estrogen Exposure: Various types of research have been conducted which suggests that hormonal changes and long-term exposure to estrogen play a role in the development of cancer cells in the lungs, especially in women, says a reputed medical oncologist in Kolkata

What are the symptoms of lung cancer in people who never smoked? 

The early signs of lung cancer in non-smokers are quite similar to those who smoke. But it is important to understand that these symptoms do not necessarily indicate lung cancer. Hence, if you are experiencing the below symptoms, it is advised to consult a medical oncologist in Kolkata for a proper diagnosis. 

  • Persistent cough lasting for several weeks and worsening over time. 
  • Difficulty in breathing even with mild physical activity.
  • A sharp pain in the chest which usually worsens with coughing.
  • Whistling sound when breathing. 
  • A persistent feeling of fatigue and weakness.
  • Significant and unexplained weight loss. 
  • Blood when coughing.
  • Frequent respiratory infections.


If you have never smoked and is experiencing the above symptoms, it’s important for them to seek medical evaluation from a lung cancer doctor in Kolkata to determine the cause and receive appropriate treatment.