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Lung cancer

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BIOL 2050U
Peter Cheung

Lung cancer  Tar in smoke contains several carcinogens (cancer causing agents) o Cause mutations in the genes which control cell division (oncogenes) o Divide uncontrollably to produce a mass of cells - tumour  Tumour cells do not respond to signals from nerves and hormones o Continue to grow o No programmed cell death occurs  A small group of tumour cells is called a primary growth. It may be o Benign - does not spread from its origin o Malignant - spread throughout the body invading other tissues and destroying them  Cells breaking off malignant tumours from secondary growth cause cancer to spread - metastasis o Hard to find and remove them in this state  Tumour may take many years to develop with few or no real symptoms o Well advanced when discovered o If the respiratory system is involved: o Symptoms like coughing up blood and blocked airways leading to diseases like pneumonia are common o Removing a whole or part lung may be effective provided metastasis is not well advanced Smoking and lung cancer risk  Risk increases if o Smokers start young o Inhale deeply o More cigarettes are smoked per day o The cigarettes are high tar o Smoking goes on over a long period of time  Risk decreases if smoking stops  Smokers 18x more likely to develop lung cancer than non-smokers 
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