According tomedia reports, the World Health Organization statistics at the end of 2019 show that more than 8 million people worldwide die each year from tobacco use, of which about 1.2 million non-smokers die from exposure to second-hand smoke. But a recent finding by British scientists seems to offer a glimmer of hope to smokers that the lungs could miraculously repair cells that cause cancer caused by smoking as long as they quit smoking in time.
Researchers were also surprised by the discovery, the BBC website reported recently. Because people have always thought that the lung cell cancer caused by smoking is permanent, even quit smoking can not be saved.
The study shows that the few “escape” cells that have repair functioned are those that have not been damaged. This is true even for older smokers, many of whom smoke a box (20) cigarettes a day and smoke for 40 years.
Cigarettes contain thousands of toxic chemicals. These chemicals destroy lung cells and cause mutations in their DNA, slowly converting healthy cells into cancer cells. Dr Kate Gowers, of University College London, described it as a mini-time bomb, waiting for the next trigger to cause a full outbreak of cancer.
The study found that smokers had a large number of cell mutations before they developed lung cancer. Cells extracted from the smoker’s respiratory tract show that the vast majority of cells have genetic mutations due to tobacco.
However, a small number of cells are undamaged. But the reason is not yet clear. The undamaged cells are like hiding in a nuclear bunker, the researchers say, and once the smoker quits, they begin to grow and multiply and replace the damaged cells. Observations revealed that up to 40 percent of lung cells in ex-smokers looked the same as those who had never smoked.
Dr Peter Campbell, of the Sanger Institute in the UK, said the findings were surprising. The most amazing thing, he says, is that after 40 years of smoking, some of their cells can still regenerate without any damage.
China is a big country for tobacco production and consumption. Although the total number of smokers in China has decreased in recent years, it has remained at more than 300 million. Lung cancer is the number one killer of many cancers in China and one of the major public health hazards.
Tobacco kills half of all smokers around the world, according to the World Health Organization.
Notably, the researchers focused on the respiratory tract of the lungs, not the alveoli part. In addition, the researchers still need to assess the proportion of lung repair.
Previous studies have shown that smokers can reduce their risk of lung cancer from the day they quit. It is speculated that this is because quitting smoking avoids further mutations in cells.
Dr Rachel Orito, of Cancer Research UK, said the findings were encouraging and showed that quitting smoking can have a double benefit: first, quitting can avoid further damage to lung cells, and also provide a chance for lung cells to breathe and regenerate.