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Smokers are unequal when it comes to lung cancer

Published on October 21, 2014 at 14:41 / Updated on July 25, 2019 at 14:39

Smokers are not all equals when it comes to lung cancer. In fact, a group of researchers have identified a genetic variation that likely predisposes an individual to this type of tumour. Hence, each specimen of chromosome 15 (we can receive one from each of our parents) that is altered increases the risk of suffering from lung cancer by 30%. This means that the risk a heavy smoker has of suffering from this cancer increases to 16%, if he or she does not have this genetic mutation, and to 23%, if he or she carries both variations. It is far from being negligible! For ex-smokers on the other hand, these statistics are between 8% and 15%, respectively.

These results will undoubtedly contribute to a better understanding of how lung cancer develops, and could very well play a role in the improvement of treatments for this particular disease.

Every week in Canada, 427 Canadians learn that they are suffering from lung cancer, while 365 die from it. Lung cancer is, by far, the most fatal type of cancer in the country.

Whether or not current smokers are carriers of this genetic variation, quitting smoking should remain a top priority for each and every one of them. In fact, all smokers have a greater risk of developing a cancerous tumour of the lungs. Smoking gives them a 16% risk of being afflicted by this cancer, compared with 0.5% for all non-smokers. Those who are addicted to cigarette are also more at risk of suffering from other types of cancers such as cancer of the mouth, throat, kidneys, and bladder, among others. They are also more likely of suffering from pulmonary diseases, and of dying from cardiovascular diseases. A group of British researchers has evaluated that one out of two smokers will die from the after-effects of smoking.

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