Actress Kate Micucci, known for her role as Lucy on the CBS sitcom “Big Bang Theory,” says she had surgery for lung cancer — despite never having smoked a cigarette in her life.
“Hey everyone, this isn’t a TikTok, it’s a ‘Sick Tok,'” Micucci said in one TikTok video she wrote on Saturday. “I’m in the hospital, but that’s because I had lung cancer surgery yesterday.”
“They caught it very early,” she said. “It’s really weird because I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life, so you know it was a surprise.” She said the “greatest news” is that the cancer was removed after its early detection. It’s “all good,” she said.
While smoking cigarettes is a significant risk factor for developing lung cancer, abstaining from smoking does not necessarily preclude it. In the United States, as many as 20% of people who die of lung cancer have never smoked or used other forms of tobacco, according to American Cancer Society. For people who don’t smoke but still get lung cancer, it can be one of the deadliest forms of the disease in the United States
Other risk factors that can contribute to lung cancer include passive smoking, air pollution, radon gas, and exposure to carcinogens such as asbestos. Gene mutations or changes in lung cells can also lead to abnormal cell growth and possibly to cancer.
While smoking marijuana is associated with an increased risk of developing lung cancer, further research is still needed to determine the long-term health effects of the drug, according to Mayo Clinic.
The CDC says between 20,000 and 40,000 cases of lung cancer occur annually in people who do not smoke cigarettes or have smoked less than 100. Passive smoking is attributed to about 7,3000 cases and radon gas to about 2,900 cases. Still, the US Preventive Services Task Force recommends not screening for lung cancer if you have never smoked.
Whether you smoke or not, lung cancer symptoms tend to look the same: not feeling well, coughing up blood, having chest pain, and shortness of breath and wheezing, according to the CDC.
Lung cancer can be treated in a number of ways, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy that uses drugs to block the spread of cancer cells. Surgery can also be used to cut out cancerous tissue.
Micucci, who grew up in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, is also a singer and visual artist. She said in her video that she can’t wait to paint again and expects to get back to it soon.