Lung cancer is no longer just a 'smokers' disease', claims leading doctor
- Today, about 20% of lung cancer patients are non-smokers
- Number of smokers is falling so smoking-related cancer cases are falling
- But number of non-smokers developing the cancer is static meaning the proportion is increasing
- Asbestos exposure and air pollution are among the possible causes
Lung cancer is no longer just a 'smokers' disease', according to a leading doctor.
Dr Harpal Kumar said that while the number of smokers is falling, which is leading to an overall reduction in the number of those developing lung cancer, there are still a steady 6,000 people developing the disease who do not smoke.
Of those, causes of the cancer include asbestos exposure and air pollution.
‘People tend to think it is just a smokers' disease, but it isn't. It is a significant problem, and one that is growing globally.’
Dr Kumar went on to explain that there has been no real improvement in lung cancer survival figures since the 1970s because it is often diagnosed late.
However, yesterday a £14 million study was launched to track genetic changes that cause tumours to grow, and which allow them to become resistant to medication.
It is hoped that the research will lead to the development of new treatments as it will look at how tumours mutate as they grow.
This is expected to be helpful as one of the major barriers to the development of effective treatments is the fact that continuous evolution means that different cells in the same tumour can be very different.
Professor Charlie Swanton of Cancer Research UK's London Research Institute and University College London, who is leading the study, told The Telegraph: ‘Success in treating lung cancer has been difficult to achieve but we're hoping to change that.’
The news comes shortly after it was revealed that even low level exposure to traffic fumes can increase a person’s risk of developing lung cancer.
Research, published in the journal The Lancet Oncology, revealed that people’s chance of developing the disease rises with greater exposure to small sooty particles generated by diesel exhausts.
Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in the UK, claiming almost 35,000 lives in 2010. In the same year, 42,000 Britons were diagnosed with the disease.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2368442/Lung-cancer-longer-just-smokers-disease-claims-leading-doctor.html#ixzz2ZVWteKPg
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook