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Endangered species/TremblingSeaMat

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221530.  Thu Oct 18, 2007 9:30 am Reply with quote

I haven't read the paper either, and I don't think I shall pay $30 to read the work of guys who apparently consider 58 to be more than 60. But as dr.bob says, it really doesn't work (shame really; I'd kind of have liked it to).

The vast majority of lung cancer cases are among people who are or have been smokers. Wiki states without citation that it's more than 90%; much as I'd like to see a source for that it seems entirely plausible.

This paper and this paper show that those who share their homes with smokers have around a 25% increased risk of lung cancer, as do immediate relatives of non smokers who have the illness. That's partly to do with so-called "passive smoking", and partly to do with genetics.

In other cases among non smokers, asbestos and radon are implicated. "Spontaneous" lung cancer with no ascribable cause and no family history of the illness is rare indeed.

So what the Indian doctors are saying is that they treated 312 lung cancer patients. Perhaps 30 of these were not smokers and never had been (based on the "more than 90%" claim). We then have 182 ex-smokers, which presumably means that the remaining 100 were still smoking.

So all it says to me is two things:

1. Lung cancer has generally taken hold some time before it is diagnosed. If one recognises symptoms in oneself, one might well consider that it would be wise to stop smoking before one seeks medical treatment. (Especially in a country where treatment may not be immediately readily available.)
2. The remaining 100 have presumably taken the view "I have lung cancer because of smoking. I'm probably going to die anyway, so why go to the trouble of packing up smoking now".

Also, despite The Grauniad's headline, the paper does not address death; it addresses having the illness. It's an illness from which most sufferers die, but I'd not mind betting that the people still smoking have a lower (still) chance of survival than the others.


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