MAY 26, 2018 03:02 PM PDT

Calculate Your Risk For Lung Cancer

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Lung cancer remains the most common type of cancer by far in men and women, and it kills around 1.6 million people every year. The disease is not only impacting long-time smokers. New work reported in eBioMedicine looked at the biggest risk factors for the disease by assessing questionnaires and health records from 65,000 Norwegians. Three years of research showed that most lung cancer patients - 94 percent - were either ex-smokers smokers. For the other six percent who didn’t smoke, no obvious risk factor emerged. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco use is the primary risk factor for cancer, likely causing about 22 percent of cancer worldwide. / Image credit: Pixabay

People who smoked under 20 cigarettes a day for fewer than 20 years made up 36 percent of cases. Computer tomography (CT) screening has previously been recommended for smokers who’ve had 20 or more cigarettes for 30 years. That is a costly and dangerous screening method, however. The repeated doses of radiation that come with it can cause harm. Scientists wanted to find another way to precisely identify those who are at risk.

An international team of researchers from a variety of fields including oncology, statistics, and bioinformatics elucidated seven risk factors. They were able to engineer a risk calculator that determines an individual’s risk of lung cancer development within six and sixteen years. They named their tool the HUNT Lung Cancer Risk Model.

We already know some of their risk factors: cigarette intake - both the number of cigarettes smoked every day and number of years 20 cigarettes were smoked daily, an individual’s age, and how long it has been since they stopped smoking. Another known factor was confirmed to be body mass index (BMI); people with a higher BMI have a higher risk. 

The team also added two new risk factors: a periodic cough, and the amount of time a person is also exposed to smoke indoors, where unsurprisingly, an increase in exposure increases risk.
 
 After checking their findings against Norwegian health study participants, the group could predict the people who would get lung cancer with about 88 percent accuracy.  

"The method can reduce the number of people exposed to radiation from unnecessary CT scans, and maximize identification of persons with true risk," said Oluf Dimitri Røe, a senior oncologist at the Department of Oncology, Levanger Hospital. "It is also the first model that can accurately predict lung cancer in light smokers, younger people, and people who quit smoking many years before."

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco use is the primary risk factor for cancer, likely causing about 22 percent of cancer worldwide. While lung cancer cases, in general, are declining, that is not true for every group. Detection is becoming increasingly important for young women, for whom lung cancer is on the rise; smoking does not count for that increase. Learn more about it from the video.

 

Sources: AAAS/Eurekalert! Via Norwegian University of Science and Technology, WHO, WebMD, eBioMedicine
 

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
APR 27, 2018
Clinical & Molecular DX
APR 27, 2018
Stomach Pain Is A Warning Sign for Meningitis
Simply looking out for the classic warning signs of a meningococcal infection may cause some cases to go unnoticed - at first. A new study from the Institu...
MAY 29, 2018
Microbiology
MAY 29, 2018
Environmental Factors Drive Belly Fat Buildup
Abdominal fat is a major risk factor for disease. New work could help find those at risk for increased belly fat, and help reverse that trend....
JUN 28, 2018
Cardiology
JUN 28, 2018
"Prehab" Prior to Heart Surgery Boosts Post-Op Recovery
Canadian doctors are promoting the idea of “prehabilitation” for elderly heart disease patients awaiting heart surgery. “Prehab” of...
JUL 07, 2018
Cardiology
JUL 07, 2018
Hybrid Imaging of the Heart Predicts Heart Attack Risk
The combination of two different types of imaging seems to be the most accurate way to predict heart attacks. Based on studies from the University Hospital...
JUL 19, 2018
Microbiology
JUL 19, 2018
Mom's Microbiome has a Big Impact on Kid's Autism Risk
For many years, scientists have been trying to learn more about the causes of autism....
OCT 16, 2018
Microbiology
OCT 16, 2018
Simple Test Rapidly Diagnoses Antibiotic-resistant Infections
If we get a bacterial infection, doctors use antibiotics to treat it. But sometimes people are infected by pathogens that are resistant to drugs....
Loading Comments...