MAY 26, 2018 3:02 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 over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
MAY 18, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Library Prep Methods for SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing: a Summary
MAY 18, 2021
Library Prep Methods for SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing: a Summary
As the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to mutate, rapid sequencing of COVID-19-positive samples is more critical than ever. N ...
JUN 02, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
A Genetic Form of ALS is Discovered
JUN 02, 2021
A Genetic Form of ALS is Discovered
Some medical mysteries have become much easier to solve because of advanced genetic techniques that have enabled researc ...
JUN 17, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
A RADICA Approach to Viral Diagnostics
JUN 17, 2021
A RADICA Approach to Viral Diagnostics
  The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a wave of new technologies for rapid viral diagnostics, given just how critical ...
JUL 04, 2021
Microbiology
Standard Methods Aren't Revealing Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria in Cattle
JUL 04, 2021
Standard Methods Aren't Revealing Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria in Cattle
Antibiotic resistant bacteria pose a potentially serious threat to public health. There are a variety of ways that peopl ...
JUL 27, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Thumb-Sized Device Tells You if Your Breath Stinks
JUL 27, 2021
Thumb-Sized Device Tells You if Your Breath Stinks
People generally can’t smell their own breath. So, for individuals with halitosis—or bad breath—friend ...
SEP 05, 2021
Microbiology
Gut Bacteria May Influence Infant Brain Development
SEP 05, 2021
Gut Bacteria May Influence Infant Brain Development
Our health is closely connected to the community of microbes we carry in our gut. For example, these microbes have a pow ...
Loading Comments...