Miami Surgeon: It's Not Known Why More Non-Smoker Women Get Lung Cancer

It's not known why non-smoker women outnumber non-smoker men in getting lung cancer

Anna Plaza Has been working on Flying Kites for Cure since her mother Lily died of lung cancer in 2008.

"She was a non-smoker and nobody in my household smoked and for us it was a left field diagnosis. We didn't understand how she got it. She hated when people would ask her if she smoked because she didn't think that anybody deserved it," said Anna Plaza.

The Centers for Disease Control looked at lung cancer deaths among non-smokers in 2008, and 7000 were men 20,000 were women.  One in five women diagnosed with lung cancer never smoked.

“A lot of research is going into it but to be honest we haven’t yet been able to put our hand on exactly what’s causing it," said Dr. Tammy Baxter, a lung surgeon at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. 

UM Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center has just started a lung screening program using low dose CT scans, in an effort to find lung cancer earlier when it's more curable. While smokers are at great risk,  Baxter explained “if you were at a home where your parents smoked at work where they were smoking on the job, or if you have a spouse who smokes in the house those people should call and consider being screened.”

The goal is to detect cancer before there are symptoms.  Lily's were very subtle says her daughter.

"Just a very little cough very watery cough and that was it.  There was no pain nothing else and the doctor actually diagnosed her with walking pneumonia initially. ”

In the past four years, 34-year-old Plaza has raised closed to $60,000 to help fight the disease that claimed her mother's life.

You can fly Kites for Cure Saturday from at Tropical Park.  Each kite is $30.  All the money goes to Uniting Against Lung Cancer to fund research. To find out more click here.

If you are concerned about your risk of lung cancer and would like to consider a screening click here.

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