Irish research may help lung cancer survival rates

Irish research is expected to boost lung cancer survival rates as medical experts discover what works best to control the disease in patients.

An Irish Cancer Society funded study at St James’s Hospital, Dublin, has found that cell lines with particular mutations respond differ-ently to combination treatment strategies.

The frequency of the mutations are being tested in 120 lung cancer patients at the hospital by the research team.

Initial results from the study, led by Susan Heavey, a PhD student in the Thoracic Oncology Research Group, was presented at the British Thoracic Oncology Group Conference in Dublin yesterday.

Meanwhile, American research published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found women smokers are far more likely to be killed by their habit today than they were in the 1960s.

The increased risk greatly outweighs improvements in medicine that have cut death rates among the majority of the population in the last 50 years.

In the 1960s, smoking raised a woman’s chances of dying from lung cancer 2.7 times. By 2000-10 this had surged to 25.7-fold higher level of risk.

A similar trend holds true for deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), another smoking-related condition.

The findings strongly confirm the claim that “if women smoke like men, they will die like men”, says the report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Quitting smoking at any age dramatically reduces death rates from all major diseases caused by smoking, the study found.

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