Three independent genetic studies have found some of the strongest evidence yet that your genes influence your risk of developing lung cancer.
Lung cancer, the most common killer cancer in the world, is largely caused by smoking. Tobacco is thought to be responsible for about 5 million premature deaths every year and smoking is still clearly the largest risk factor. But the new results suggest that, amongst smokers, some people may be as much as 80% more at risk than others thanks to their genes.
So how risky is smoking? You won’t need a genetic test; it suffices to say it’s fairly risky indeed:
About 50% of the general population carries a single copy of this cancer gene variant, members of the three research groups suggest. Data from all three studies — some of which did not include non-smokers — show that possessing this single copy raises the risk of lung cancer by about 30%.
What’s more, another 10% of the population is likely to carry two copies of this set of mutations, raising cancer risk by as much as 80% relative to people with equivalent lifestyles without the cancer-linked gene variant.