A gene linked with the development of lung cancer has been identified in a recent study.
Published in the Lancet, the research is hoped to provide further information as to why some people who do not smoke still develop the cancer.
Professor Stephen Spiro, deputy chairman of the British Lung Foundation, revealed that the research could "allow doctors to pick up patients who have a genetic predisposition to the disease".
According to the professor, lung cancer is diagnosed in more than 38,000 people a year in the UK.
Of those diagnosed, only 8,000 do not smoke, highlighting the strong link between the habit and the disease.
For those who have developed the illness through not smoking, new methods of diagnosis, such as the identification of a gene, could prove vital in beating the disease.
Professor Spiro said that "many people do so badly" because the cancer cannot be identified quickly enough due to poor results when using diagnostic methods such as X-rays.