‘Big Bang Theory’ Actress Kate Micucci Treated for Lung Cancer

By Pat Carragher - December 15, 2023

Actress Kate Micucci, known for her role as Lucy on “Big Bang Theory,” says she recently underwent surgery for lung cancer.

“Hey everybody, this is not a TikTok, it’s a ‘Sick Tok,’” Micucci said in a TikTok video.  “I’m in the hospital but it’s because I had lung cancer surgery yesterday. They caught it really early. It’s really weird, because I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life so, you know, it was a surprise.”

@katiemicucci An update on what I’ve been up to. 🫁 #sicktok #hospital #imokay #solucky #sendinglove ♬ original sound - Katemicucci

According to Dr. Lary Robinson, a thoracic surgeon at Moffitt Cancer Center, the number of never smokers who get lung cancer is increasing, especially in women. Statistics show 25% of women and 10% of men with lung cancer have never smoked.

“Lung cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer worldwide, with over 2.2 million new cases each year. Nearly a quarter million of those new cases occur in the U.S. yearly,” Robinson said. “The never-smoking women with lung cancer is a very distinct group and unlike Ms. Micucci, most are found with late-stage disease. The average age of diagnosis tends to be younger than that of smokers and former smokers.”

Micucci went on to say the “greatest news” is that the cancer was removed after its early detection. It’s “all good,” she said.

According to the American Cancer Society, 20% of people who die from lung cancer have never smoked or used other forms of tobacco.

More than 238,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year and 127,000 will die from the disease. One in 17 women will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime, smokers and nonsmokers included.

Dr. Lary Robinson, thoracic surgeon
Dr. Lary Robinson, Thoracic Oncology Department

As clinical observations suggest the number of lung cancers diagnosed among never smokers is increasing, it also remains understudied. Robinson is hoping to shed more light in this area. He’s currently leading an observational study looking at potential risk factors for cancer in women who are never smokers with lung cancer.

Diet has been a suspected risk factor, with several studies finding a significantly reduced risk among patients who stick to a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables and low-fat foods while reducing meat consumption.

According to Robinson, a whole food, plant-based diet is known to have anti-inflammatory potential and is associated with favorable bacteria in the intestine. Changing to a plant-based diet is strongly associated with a decreased risk of a variety of cancers including lung cancer, as well as a decreased chance of developing cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke and dementia.  

Other risk factors that can increase the risk of lung cancer include secondhand smoke, air pollution, radon gas exposure and exposure to cancer-causing agents like asbestos. Genetic mutations can also lead to abnormal cell growth and possibly to lung cancer.

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