Hearing that Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer must have come as a shock to many. After all, lung cancer has always been associated with smoking, and the highly disciplined public official doesn't smoke or drink, having always lived a healthy lifestyle. Her doctors are apparently still baffled about it. "Giving trouble to my colleagues at work is one definite cause of lung cancer because I talk all the time when I should be keeping quiet. But seriously, they have no clue," Senator Defensor-Santiago was quoted by ABS-CBNNews.com as saying.

Despite the gravity of her situation, however, there is a tiny ray of light: the cancer is not metastatic, which means, it is not spreading. Doctors have also discovered a "genetic mutation" in the senator's left lung, which makes it impermeable to cancer.

In cases like this, it's easy to jump into all sorts of conclusions on your own, but it's important that you draw the line between truth and hearsay. Here, five myths about lung cancer you need to know today:

P.S. This article is not a substitute for a doctor's diagnosis. For more information, call your physician today.

MYTH # 1: Lung cancer is a smoker's disease.
According to NHS.uk, one in eight cases of lung cancer doesn't have anything to do with smoking.

MYTH # 2: You can only get cancer from smoking.
Exposure to secondhand smoke such as somebody else's cigarette butt may also put you at risk for lung cancer.

MYTH # 3: If you've been smoking for a long time, you're doomed to develop the disease.
It's never too late to quit! WebMD reports that the risk of lung cancer actually decreases over time. In fact, your risk drops by 50 percent 10 years after you've dropped the habit.

MYTH # 4: Only adults get lung cancer.
Surprisingly, even children can get lung cancer. Health Central reports that there's even a type of cancer called bronchioloalveolar cancer that is increasingly afflicting young non-smoking women!

MYTH # 5: The absence of symptoms means you don't have lung cancer.
Unfortunately, just because you're feeling peachy doesn't necessarily mean that you're free from disease. Even a condition as serious as lung cancer can creep up on you. In fact, about 25 percent of patients showed no symptoms of the disease until it was too late, reports Health Central. The good news is that, when detected early, lung cancer is treatable with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

(Photo by Ed Uthman via Flickr Creative Commons)

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