“Big Bang Theory” actress Kate Micucci says she had surgery for lung cancer despite never smoking a cigarette

December 13, 2023
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Actress Kate Micucci, known for her role as Lucy on the CBS sitcom “Big Bang Theory,” says she underwent surgery for lung cancer – despite having never smoked a cigarette in her life.

“Hey everybody, this is not a TikTok, it’s a ‘Sick Tok,'” Micucci said in a TikTok video she posted on Saturday. “I’m in the hospital but it’s because I had lung cancer surgery yesterday.”

“They caught it really 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.

Los Angeles Premiere Of A24's "Dicks: The Musical" - Arrivals
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 18: Kate Micucci attends the Los Angeles premiere of A24’s “Dicks: The Musical” at Fine Arts Theatre on September 18, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Monica Schipper/WireImage)

Monica Schipper


While smoking cigarettes is a major risk factor for developing lung cancer, abstaining from smoking doesn’t necessarily rule it out. In the U.S., as many as 20% of people who die from lung cancer have never smoked or used other forms of tobacco, according to the American Cancer Society. For people who don’t smoke but still get lung cancer, it can be one of the most fatal forms of the disease in the U.S.

Other risk factors that can contribute to lung cancer include secondhand smoke, air pollution, radon gas and exposure to cancer-causing agents like 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 substance, according to Mayo Clinic. 

The CDC says between 20,000 to 40,000 lung cancer cases occur annually in people who don’t smoke cigarettes or have smoked less than 100. Secondhand smoke is attributed to about 7,3000 cases and radon gas to about 2,900 cases. Still, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend 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 may also be used to cut out cancer tissue.

Micucci, who is also a singer and visual artist, said in her video that she can’t wait to paint again and expects to get back to it soon.



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