Scientists find more evidence for inherited lung cancer risk

In collaboration with the Press Association

Japanese researchers say that they have identified more evidence of an inherited risk of lung cancer. The finding highlights that a family history of the disease should further motivate smokers to quit, said Dr Anne Schwarz of Wayne State University in Detroit in an accompanying editorial.

Previous studies have hinted that a person's lung cancer risk might be influenced by their family history of the disease. This study is one of the largest to date.

The study looked at the health of more than 100,000 participants over 13 years. A total of 791 lung cancer cases were found during the study.

The results suggest that having a first-degree relative who had been diagnosed with lung cancer almost doubled a person's chances of developing the disease.

The risk among women with a close relative who had been diagnosed with lung cancer was higher than in men, although men remained at the higher risk of the disease overall.

Smoking remains the biggest risk factor, causing nine out of ten cases of the disease.

"Research focused on screening, early detection, and prevention must continue," added Dr Schwarz. "Family history should be used as another marker of 'high risk' for lung cancer in spiral CT screening studies and chemoprevention trials."

Lung cancer among more distant family members was not found to be related to the risks of the disease, however.

Moderate smokers are about eight times more likely to die from lung cancer than non-smokers. Heavy smokers are 25 times more likely to die of the disease.

The study was conducted by the Japanese National Cancer Centre and is published in the journal Chest.

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