Lung Cancer Runs in the Family, Scientists State

Individuals whose close relatives are lung cancer patients have a double-fold chance to develop symptoms of the same condition sooner or later

By on October 13th, 2006 15:15 GMT
It is a commonly acknowledged fact that heavy smoking is the leading cause for lung cancer, but recent studies confirmed that this very popular type of cancer can run in the family. According to a report published in the Chest Journal, individuals who had or have a first-degree relative with lung cancer are 95% more likely to develop symptoms of the fearful condition, too.

Consequently, if a person has a close relative suffering from lung cancer, he has an almost two-fold risk of developing the same disease sooner or later. This is why we all should take care of our health, by preserving it and avoiding bad habits, especially smoking in this case.

The team of researchers involved in the study noted in their paper: "Our long-term follow-up of a large-scale, population-based cohort identified a significant increase in the risk of lung cancer associated with a family history of lung cancer in a first-degree relative in a Japanese population."

Basically, it is all about 'inheriting' the bad habit of smoking. Previous studies have also confirmed the fact that bad habits may easily run in the family. For instance, a report published last month in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology provided evidence for the fact that that bad and addictive habits, such as smoking, alcohol drinking or using marijuana, may run in the family and transmit from parent to offspring.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Washington and found that children who have at least one parent to consume tobacco, marijuana, cannabis or alcohol are more likely to develop the bad habit than children whose parents are not practicing such bad, unhealthy habits. However, the most at risk were found to be offspring of smokers.

Dr. Jay Brooks, Chairman of Hematology and Oncology at the Ochsner Clinic Health System in Baton Rouge, La., consulted the current study and stated that it is of significantly high importance for physicians to realize that heavy smoking and, implicitly, lung cancer can run in the family.

He also stated: "As a clinician, when I have someone with lung cancer, I ask the family members, 'Who smokes cigarettes?' Then I explain that they have a two- to three-fold higher risk of lung cancer because of their family history, and this is just another reason to quit smoking because they have a genetic susceptibility to the carcinogens in tobacco."

"If you have a family history of lung cancer, you have a genetic susceptibility to the carcinogens in directly inhaled and in secondhand tobacco smoke. Avoid all exposure to tobacco, quit smoking if you're a smoker,"Dr. Brooks cautioned.

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