Laura Dern Reflects On Her Grandfather's Death From Lung Cancer: 'It Can Happen To Anyone'

05/14/2015 10:41 am ET | Updated May 14, 2015

Actress Laura Dern is intimately familiar with the consequences of aggressive lung cancer. Dern, whose character Bobbi Strayed in the award-winning film "Wild" died three weeks after her diagnosis, said she lost her grandfather to the disease when she was just 6 years old.

As she recalled, there were many misconceptions about the illness at the time -- even among medical professionals.

"No one really talked about what [killed him] and no one understood what it was. I remember him coughing all the time and the doctor telling him if he was coughing a lot he could smoke to help clear his lungs," she told HuffPost Live host Ricky Camilleri. "We knew nothing about, obviously, how to care for ourselves."

While lung cancer has been linked to smoking, that isn't the only way one can get the disease, Dern pointed out.

"It can happen to anyone. Obviously, we're so affected by our environment now and our lungs taking so much of the weight of what we're dealing with in our environment. So hopefully we can make a profound difference," she said.

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation with actress Laura Dern here.

Also on HuffPost:

Laura Dern
Suggest a correction