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Causes of Lung Cancer - Essay Example

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The focus of this paper is on lung cancer as a disease in which primary cancer develops in the tissues of the lungs and these tissues take in oxygen and release Carbon Dioxide (CO2). More people die of lung cancer than any other forms of cancer such as breast cancer or throat cancer…
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Causes of Lung Cancer
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Download file to see previous pages Dr. Oscar Auerbach and his colleagues conducted research (stretched over eight years) to investigate the link between lung cancer and smoking. 1500 male and female patients of lung cancer were studied and 100,000 slides of lung tissues were taken from their bodies. The degree of cancer cells was more in patients who were smokers as compared to those who were not. The research’s findings were that the degree of cell damage was directly related to the number of cigarettes smoked per day. Dr. Auerbach’s researched data contributed to the Surgeon General’s report which was published in 1964 (Adams). After that time period, it was very common to associate lung cancer with smoking. Causes Studies targeted at deriving a relationship between cigarettes and lung cancer started in 1948 at Washington University’s School of Medicine and a student named Ernst Wynder tried connecting the dots. He did research in 1950 that involved 649 lung cancer patients and 600 controls. Wynder discovered that the rate of lung cancer was 40 times higher in smokers than in nonsmokers. Richard Doll was a British scientist who discovered (in the same year) evidence supporting the causal relationship between smoking and lung cancer. Doll researched on physicians, both who smoked and did not smoke and waited for years to see if any of them developed lung cancer. Undoubtedly the ones who did develop lung cancer were smokers (Johnson). There were a total of 158,900 deaths in the USA in 1999 because of lung cancer and this figure included men and women both. The death toll for lung cancer patients in 1999 world over was 1 billion. But lung cancer was not this common in the 1800s and it was rare. In 1929, a German physician named Fritz Lickint pointed out in his report that lung cancer patients were majorly smokers and he was so disturbed by his findings that he started an anti-tobacco movement in Germany to discourage smoking (Witschi). Before 1996, studies on causes of lung cancer-derived a relationship between lung cancer and smoking but the causes of lung cancer were not narrowed down to the cellular level. In 1996, Dr. Moonshong Tang and Dr. Gerd Pfeiffer explained how smoking affects cells and causes cancer. Both the doctors explained that cigarettes contain a chemical called benzopyrene and it damages p53, a protein found in lung cells. This protein is exactly the same as the protein found in lung cancer patients. The function of p53 is that it controls the abnormal growth of cells which can result in tumors. Benzopyrene damages p53 and the abnormal growth of cells cannot be controlled because of this (Adams). Specialists have worked on deriving a causal relationship between smoking and lung cancer. But epidemiological research has been done predominantly for deriving this relationship. Under epidemiological research, subjects are given the freedom of self-reporting their smoking habits and they do not have good memories as a result of which facts are under- or overstated. Smoking can cause other types of cancer as well: such as nasal cavity cancer, liver cancer, and stomach cancer. Lung cancer can be caused by all forms of smoking such as cigarettes, cigars, pipes or bidis (tobacco wrapped in a plant). When we say smoking causes cancer people generally assume that we are referring to active smoking. This is not plausible as lung cancer is also caused by passive smoking (Connie Henke Yarbro). ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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