Why some smok­ers don’t get can­cer

Lesotho Times - - Health -

ation (IHME).

“The chal­lenge for pol­i­cy­mak­ers will be to use what we know to guide preven­tion ef­forts and health poli­cies.”

The Global Bur­den Dis­ease study is recog­nised as the most au­thor­i­ta­tive work on global causes of dis­ease and early death.

The re­search, led by the IHME and pub­lished in the Lancet jour­nal, looked at 79 risks us­ing data from 108 coun­tries.

It used data from 1990 up to 2013. EV­ERY smoker is aware their habit puts them at risk of dis­ease and early death - yet many still live to a ripe old age.

Now, US sci­en­tists have dis­cov­ered it may be down to their genes.

Smok­ers who live for a long time may have spe­cific genes pro­mot­ing a lengthy life­span, their study found.

And these “longevity” genes were also linked with an 11 per­cent lower in­ci­dence of can­cer.

Sci­en­tists say the genes help the body’s cells main­tain and re­pair them­selves, pro­tect­ing the per­son from age­ing, and en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age like smok­ing.

To­bacco kills up to half of its users, fig­ures from the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion show.

It says the to­bacco epi­demic is “one of the big­gest public health threats the world has ever faced”, killing around 6 mil­lion peo­ple a year.

Ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can Can­cer So­ci­ety, to­bacco use ac­counts for at least 30 per­centof all can­cer deaths, caus­ing 87 per­centof lung can­cer deaths in men, and 70 per­cent of lung can­cer deaths in women.

And a body of pre­vi­ous re­search has sug­gested that smok­ing ac­cel­er­ates the age­ing process and cause dis­ease and an early death.

But not all smok­ers die early, and a small pro­por­tion sur­vive to an old age, re­searchers noted.

The risk fac­tors re­searchers an­a­lysed con­trib­uted to 30.8 mil­lion deaths in 2013, up by one-fifth from 25.1 mil­lion deaths in 1990, it found.

The mix of lead­ing risk fac­tors con­tribut­ing to deaths has changed sig­nif­i­cantly since 1990, it said.

Child­hood un­der-nutri­tion and un­safe wa­ter sources have dropped off the global top 10 list, while high choles­terol and al­co­hol use have re­placed them as ma­jor con­trib­u­tors to ill health.

To in­ves­ti­gate why, they stud­ied smok­ers who lived for a long time.

They iden­ti­fied these peo­ple had a vari­ant of a gene that al­lowed them to bet­ter with­stand en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age, like the chem­i­cals from cig­a­rettes.

This gene was strongly linked with a high sur­vival rate.

The study’s au­thor, Mor­gan Levine, of UCLA, said: “We iden­ti­fied a set of ge­netic mark­ers that to­gether seem to pro­mote longevity.

“What’s more, many of these mark­ers are in path­ways that were dis­cov­ered to be im­por­tant for age­ing and life­span.”

They may ex­tend a per­son’s life­span by help­ing their cells re­pair them­selves, she added.

Ms Levine con­tin­ued: “There­fore, even though some in­di­vid­u­als are ex­posed to high lev­els of bi­o­log­i­cal stres­sors, like those found in cig­a­rette smoke, their bod­ies may be bet­ter set up to cope with and re­pair the dam­age.”

And the same genes might also be im­por­tant to pre­vent can­cer, the re­searchers said.

The study found they were as­so­ci­ated with a nearly 11 per­cent­lower in­ci­dence of the dis­ease.

The re­search was pub­lished in The Jour­nals of Geron­tol­ogy, Se­ries A: Bi­o­log­i­cal Sciences and Med­i­cal Sciences.

— Daily Mail

Smok­ers who live For A long time may HAVE spe­cific GENES that pro­mote A lengthy life­span, sci­en­tists HAVE Found.

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