15% of lung cancers affect never smokers

Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer but also radon, a radioactive gas that settles on granitic soils, and the air pollution, elements that cause carcinogenesis or mutation of cells that lead to the disease that develops in the environment. 15% of the non-smoking population.

This Saturday in Paris, within the framework of the congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), scientists from the Francis Crick Institute and University College London, have presented a study warning of how air pollution promotes cancerous changes in airway cells. and generates more cases of non-small cell lung cancer among people who have never smoked.

In an interview with Efe, the head of Medical Oncology at the Doce de Octubre University Hospital in Madrid, Luis Paz-Ares, who presented at the congress a study, of which he is the main coordinator, on a new treatment of pulmonary immunotherapy, states that pollution and environmental pressure are “together with radon, very clearly promoters of carcinogenesis in the lung”.

Paz-Ares, who is also head of the H120 lung cancer clinical research unit at the Spanish National Cancer Research Center (CNIO), explains that these carcinogenesis are acquired “they are not transmitted to progeny.” and has reported that mutations in a gene that are heritable account for only 5% to 7%.

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85% of lung cancers could be avoided.

On the impact of lung cancer (30,000 new cases per year in Spain, of which 4,500 are non-smokers), Paz-Ares stresses that 85% could be avoided if tobacco consumption is eliminated and urges administrations to be more restrictive in public spaces where smoking is allowed and to increase the cost of the pack of cigarettes.

It is also very important, he says, that children and adolescents understand that cancer is a malignant drug and that if it does not kill, it gives the patient a very poor quality of life.

And it is also necessary for society to see the smoker as addicted, not vicious, and that perspective will help him or her kick the habit. Paz-Ares clarifies that even if a person has smoked for 30 years, “it is worth quitting.” Paz-Ares clarifies that even if a person has smoked for 30 years, “it is worthwhile to quit”, to ask for medical advice and help in smoking cessation clinics.

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Improved survival

Despite the harshness of lung cancer, this oncologist wields positive figures such as the fact that in 20 years patients with metastatic tumor (stage four) have gone from a survival rate of 2% to 20% at five years.

If detected at an early stage survival rates improve significantly. From 75% in stage one, to 45% or 50% in stage two and 225% or 30% in stage three.

And, he admits, one of the problems is that the tumor is usually caught in an advanced stage and that is because when the first symptoms no longer millimeters but a relatively large size that progresses rapidly, giving rise to micrometastases in very short periods of time.

In the near-term future, this oncologist expects to improve survival figures with the early detection through ‘screening’. (a test performed on the susceptible population to detect tumors at an early stage) and in the medium to long term relies on blood tests that identify the Tumor DNA in the bloodstream.

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