Healthy smokers may also show lung cancer signs –

Smokers who have been given a clean bill of health from their doctors after normal examination results may still have early signs of lung cancer. The researchers compared a group of 21 healthy smokers with 31 smokers who had no detectable form of lung disease after X-rays and standard chest examinations.

The researchers sent a bronchoscope and a fine brush into the lungs of both groups to collect cells from the airway linings. The cells being tested formed a part of the airway epithelium, which comes into touch with cigarette smoke and that is the place from where lung cancer begins. Results revealed that in the lining of the airways in the smokers’ lungs, embryonic stem cell genes of human had been activated, which are switched on in the most truculent, hard-to-treat lung cancers. Cells that are lining the airways in smokers are in a more primitive state and have some of the features that you see in lung cancers.

They say that the primitive cells they found do not normally appear in the healthy lung. Healthy lung cells have very definite assignments. They only state genes related to lung function are same as the brain cells.

The researchers add that although many smokers undergo routine check-ups, X-rays and lung function tests, physical examinations, but these are not sensitive enough to pick up the early cell changes in the lungs, which is illusive for the patient. Everyone knows that smoking is bad. About 20% of smokers develop either emphysema or lung cancer.

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