Mon, Sep 25, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Lung cancer among non-smokers double US figures

FAMILY HISTORY:The study confirms that hereditary and environmental factors are just as critical as smoking in causing cancer, said Yang Pan-chyr, who led the research

By Wu Liang-yi  /  Staff reporter

The rate of lung cancer among non-smoking Taiwanese is about two times higher than that of chain smokers in the US and Europe, a study by a Taiwanese research team found.

The study, which has been led since 2015 by National Taiwan University professor Yang Pan-chyr (楊泮池), Taiwan Lung Cancer Society President Chen Yu-min (陳育民) and physicians at more than 20 hospitals nationwide, focused on people who do no smoke, but have a family history of lung cancer.

It is the nation’s first major study on non-smoking people with lung cancer.

The study found that of the 6,465 people who had undergone tests, 148, or 2.29 percent, had lung adenocarcinoma, a common type of lung cancer.

In comparison, the US National Cancer Institute’s National Lung Screening Trial found that about 1.03 percent of chain smokers had lung adenocarcinoma, similar to the rate in Europe, Yang said.

The findings confirm the suggestion by medical experts that hereditary and environmental factors are major causes of lung cancer in Taiwan, and are no less critical than the influence of smoking, he said.

A disease’s inheritance might be related to gene mutations, Yang added.

The study has found that many people with lung adenocarcinoma are not smokers, Chen said.

The nation has seen more than 10,000 new lung cancer patients every year over the past decade, he said, adding that the mortality rate of lung cancer is the highest of all cancer types.

People with a family history of lung cancer, who are exposed to second and third-hand smoke, who have lung disease — such as tuberculosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — or cook without turning on the kitchen ventilators should take measures to protect their lungs, Chen said.

Air pollution has also become a serious environmental factor in the past few years, Chen said, advising people to wear masks when the air quality is bad and exercise regularly to boost their immune systems.

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