More non-smokers being diagnosed with lung cancer

Posted at 4:25 PM, Nov 09, 2018

CINCINNATI -- Tim turned 37 last month. He has never smoked.

So it came as a shock when he was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer.

The Tri-State has one of the highest lung cancer rates in the U.S. because it's one of the heaviest smoking areas in the country, according to Dr. John Morris. But people who have never had a cigarette make up a growing percentage of lung cancer diagnoses. 

Between 10 and 15 percent of lung cancer diagnoses are in people who never smoked. Radon gas and pollution are two contributors.

"I think there's a sense that most people with lung cancer are smokers, so they did it to themselves, which is very unfair because we're seeing more and more lung cancer in non-smokers," Morris said.

Morris is the physician Tim chose to guide him through his battle with cancer.

"He offered hope," Tim said. "He offered a chance of treatment at the time that was very new."

It was a combination of an immunotherapy drug and chemotherapy.

"It has made a dramatic difference," Morris said. "He was very symptomatic when I first saw him. He's minimally symptomatic now."

Now Tim is spreading the word about the importance of research and how funding for it can make survivability possible.

The University of Cincinnati is holding a discussion about lung cancer research, screening and treatment from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Courtyard Marriott by Rookwood Commons. For more info, call 513-558-2030.