Myths and Facts

The following is a list of common myths and misconceptions about lung cancer. For more information, please view the 2015 Canadian Cancer Statistics.

MYTH: Only smokers get cancer.

FACT:
The causative association between tobacco use and lung cancer is well established. Lung cancer however, also occurs at high rates in lifelong never-smokers. Lung cancer in never-smokers is among the leading causes of cancer related mortality.

(Clin Cancer Res 2009;15(18):5622-5)

MYTH: If you have never smoked, you won't get lung cancer.

FACT:
About 15% of lung cancers occur in never-smokers in the West, whereas about 30% - 40% of patients with lung cancer are never-smokers from Asian countries.

(J Clin Pathol 2007,60:337-340)

MYTH: More men and women die from prostate and breast cancer than from lung cancer.

FACT:

 

Breast Cancer

Prostate Cancer

Lung Cancer

Total

5,000

4,100

20,900

Men

n/a

4,100

10,900

Women

5,000

n/a 10,000
(Estimates provided by the 2015 Canadian Cancer Statistics)
 

MYTH: I am too young to get lung cancer.

FACT:

 

New Cases 2015

Deaths 2015

Under 20

10 n/a

20 - 29

25 5

30 - 39

90 40

40 - 49

640 400

50 - 59

3,700 2,500

60 - 69

7,900 5,600

70 - 79

8,400 6,700

80+

5,900 5,700
(Estimates provided by the 2015 Canadian Cancer Statistics)
 

MYTH: Only older men get lung cancer.

FACT:
It is estimated that over 47% of new lung cancer cases in 2014 were diagnosed in males and females between 20 and 69 years of age.

(2014 Canadian Cancer Statistics)