Can nonsmokers get lung cancer?
The sad truth is that anyone can get lung cancer, even nonsmokers. Up to 20% of those who die from lung cancer each year are not smokers, nor have they ever used tobacco in any other form.  That's between 16,000-24,000 Americans a year, according to the American Cancer Society.

And lung cancer is on the rise among nonsmoking women. If placed into its own category, lung cancer among nonsmokers would rank among the top 10 deadly cancers in the United States. In nonsmokers, lung cancers tend to occur at younger ages. They often have certain genetic traits that set them apart from tumors found in smokers, too.
Penn Medicine
Yes, even nonsmokers can get lung cancer.  In fact, just being exposed to second half smoke poses as a risk factor.
As many as 20-30% of lung cancers can occur in non-smokers. There may be a variety of reasons why this occurs. Some of it may be related to occupational exposure, radon gas, and secondhand smoke. There may be genetic predisposition to developing lung cancer in some non-smokers. The frequency of lung cancer in non-smoking women seems to be increasing.
Raja M. Flores, MD
Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular)
In 15 to 20 percent of lung cancer cases, smoking played no role. In this video, Raja Flores, MD, thoracic surgeon at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, discusses these rare cases, which often affect women.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Nonsmokers can get lung cancer, but their risk is much lower than that of smokers. One study looked at the results of several large studies and found that about 19% of all women diagnosed with lung cancer had never smoked, and about 9% of men diagnosed with lung cancer did not smoke.

The percentages may be shocking but they are still a minority. Your risk of lung cancer is highest if you smoke. The best way to lower your risk of lung cancer is to never take a drag of a cigarette. The second best way to lower your risk is to quit now.
Yes, nonsmokers can develop lung cancer. About 10 percent of men and 20 percent of women diagnosed with lung cancer are nonsmokers. Nonsmokers with lung cancer tend to respond better to a new generation of chemotherapy drugs, according to Dr. Alan Sandler of the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.
Robert S. Kaufmann, MD
Internal Medicine

Absolutely.  There is all sorts of types of lung cancer.   Unfortunately there is a higher incidence of young females having lung cancer who have never smoked in their life so anybody can get lung cancer and also it can spread from other cancers but the most common cause of lung cancer is tobacco.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Yes.  If you are exposed to radon or other particles or arsenic or radiation, yes, but over 90% of people with lung cancer have been smokers.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.