A new study looks at how smoking status and age impact lung cancer risk.

About half of all patients with lung cancer would not have been detected using conventional screening criteria from 2 major lung cancer screening trials, investigators reported in Seminars in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.

Although current criteria for lung cancer screening are based on smoking status and age, research has shown that other factors — including environmental exposure to radon and other chemicals, female sex, and family history — are associated with lung cancer development. In the retrospective SCREEN study, investigators assessed whether expanded lung cancer screening criteria were needed by examining how well current criteria would have predicted the development and outcomes of lung cancer in real-world patients. Notably, the 917 patients with lung cancer involved in the study included individuals who smoked heavily as well as those who smoked infrequently or never. All study participants had been diagnosed with lung cancer January 2005 and December 2018 at a center in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

The study’s primary outcome was the percentage of lung cancer patients who would have been defined as “heavy smokers” based on age and smoking screening criteria from either the US National Lung Screening Trial (NLST; ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00047385) or the NELSON trial, a Dutch-Belgian lung cancer screening trial. The SCREEN study also used the NLST and NELSON trial criteria to investigate whether there were overall survival differences between individuals who smoked heavily (termed “heavy smokers” by the SCREEN study) vs those who smoked infrequently or never (termed “light-or-never smokers” by the SCREEN study). Read more here.

Smoking and other risk factors cause almost half of cancer deaths, study finds

Smoking, drinking alcohol, being overweight and other risk factors are responsible for almost half of all cancer deaths worldwide, according to the largest study of its kind.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and exposure to risk factors plays a key role in the biology and burden of many cancer types. Doctors do not know the exact causes of cancer, and not every case or death is avoidable, but there are risk factors that can increase people’s chance of developing it.

Now researchers at the University of Washington’s school of medicine have become the first to work out how risk factors contribute to cancer deaths globally.

Smoking, alcohol use, and a high body mass index (BMI) are the biggest contributors. In total, risk factors are responsible for nearly 4.45m cancer deaths a year, according to the findings published in the Lancet that used the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors (GBD) 2019 study. Read more here.